Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF), established in 2020, has outlined a series of “game-changing” plans which aim to promote cricket among Saudis and expatriates, Saudi media reported on Tuesday.
For decades, cricket was considered as the game of the South Asian expatriates in the Kingdom but the situation is gradually changing now and the game is all set to take a giant leap.
The SACF has announced to introduce a series of competitions and programs that will encourage the nation’s youth to take up one of the world’s oldest and most popular sports.
According to the local media, the main focused of the programs is to make Saudi Arabian national team compete with the major cricketing nations.
Prince Saud Bin Mishal as the chairman of SACF, has told Arab News that they have been very busy with the setting up of many programs, with several deals and MoUs signed with the governmental, semi-governmental and non-governmental entities.
“We signed a deal with the Sports for All Federation (SFA) to launch 4 programs and we started with the National Cricket Championship […..] it is the biggest ever cricket tournament in the history of Saudi Arabia. We have more than 7,000 players and 360 teams taking part in the mega-competition played at over a hundred grounds across 11 cities in the Kingdom.” explains the chairman as quoted by Arab News.
However, the 11-week National Cricket Championship 2021 is due to end in April.
According to Prince Saud, the other three tournaments will be be launched in October and November.
Meanwhile, he has further added that the schools from across the Kingdom will also be engaged as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic situation improves. “We are talking to coaches and legends of the game, and we will have them qualify and improve coaches in domestic cricket and help at the national level,” Prince Saud remarks.
According to Arab News, these programs are part of the Saudi Vision 2030: a strategic framework to promote a softer and more secular image of the Kingdom.