Is Cricket Popular in the Arabic Speaking World?

When people talk about cricket, they commonly associate it with India, or perhaps England and Australia where the sport is also very popular. However, cricket is also one of the most popular Arab sports, particularly in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. In fact, many of the biggest cricket events are hosted in the countries like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah and the UAE is also a long-standing member of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Cricket has a long history in the United Arab Emirates, overseen by the Emirates Cricket Board. This board, which later became an associate member of the ICC in 1990, oversees every cricket event in the Emirates, including in the councils of Ajman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.

Besides hosting many cricket events, the United Arab Emirates have had several successes of their own in cricket competitions. Dubai hosts several cricket tournaments as well, including the 2021 T20 final and several Indian Premier League matches.

Between 2000 and 2006, the UAE Senior team won the ACC trophy four times, and they were also runners-up on another three occassions. In 2014, the Oman national cricket team also achieved ODI status for the very first time when they defeated Namibia in the 2019 ICC World Cricket League Division Two.

T20 World Cup 2021

One of the biggest cricket tournaments hosted in the UAE was the latest edition of the T20 World Cup. The T20 World Cup is the biggest cricket competition in the world where 16 teams compete for the coveted trophy. The very first edition of the tournament was played in 2007 and the UAE hosted it for the very first time in 2021.

The 2019 edition of the World Cup was initially scheduled to take place in Australia in the year of 2020. However, due to the pandemic, the ICC made the decision to postpone the tournament until 2021, where it would be held in India instead. Despite this decision, the situation changed once again when India wasn’t able to host the 2021 T20 World Cup and the UAE and Oman quickly stepped in to host the tournament. Finally, the World Cup began in October of 2021, with the preliminary rounds of the tournament taking place in the UAE and Oman. The final was played in Dubai’s International Cricket Stadium.

Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League, or the IPL 14, as it’s sometimes referred to, is another major T20 cricket competition that was established by the ICC in 2007, the same year that the T20 World Cup began. The Premier League began in India, and the BCCI announced that India would host the whole tournament, even confirming that the UAE wasn’t planned to be a backup venue. The first 29 matches took place in India as planned, with venues in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, and Chennai.

Due to the situation of the pandemic, the Premier League was temporarily suspended with 31 matches left to go. When India wasn’t able to keep hosting the rest of the matches, the UAE hosted the rest of the Indian Premier League in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi.

Pakistan Super League

The Pakistan Super League, also known as the PSL 6, is another important tournament in the world of cricket. The PSL is a relatively new league which was established by the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2015 and is played every year between February and March. Six teams representing six different cities in Pakistan compete in the league in a double round-robin format. The teams that earn the most points in this stage qualify for the playoffs.

The 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League was co-hosted by Pakistan and the UAE with the first half taking place in Karachi National Stadium, Pakistan, and the rest of the matches in Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The UAE has actually hosted or co-hosted nearly all of the Pakistan Super League competitions, hosting the first edition in 2016 and co-hosting the competition alongside Pakistan in 2017, 2018, and 2019. The 2020 edition was the only time that Pakistan was the sole host of the PSL and the next edition in 2021 was co-hosted alongside UAE once again. In 2022, the seventh edition of the PSL will be hosted in Pakistan and all the matches are planned to take place in the Karachi National Stadium.

Cricket in India vs Cricket in Oman

There’s no doubt that cricket is the number one sport in India. The country has hosted the cricket World Cup several times and they’ve also won it twice. Oman hasn’t enjoyed the same level of success as India when it comes to competitive cricket, but they did make two appearances in the T20 World Cup and hosted the 2021 edition too.

Nevertheless, cricket is immensely popular in the UAE and Oman, although horse racing seems to be the number one sport in these countries. Horse racing is extremely popular in Dubai, which is where the Dubai World Cup of horse racing is hosted, attracting the world’s best jockeys and trainers.

Cricket Betting in UAE and Oman

Although cricket is very popular in the UAE and Oman, horse racing remains the most popular sport that is bet on. It’s a well-known fact that horse racing is extremely popular throughout all of the UAE, especially in Dubai. The Dubai World Cup is one of the most important betting events and the most well-know horse racing competition all over the world. It’s also the most popular betting market amongst UAE betting sites and the one that generates the most revenue. Cricket betting is nearly just as popular and in terms of revenue, it generates almost as much as horse racing betting.