January 5, 2001

Egypt: Fresh tactic to get cricket started in the land of the Pharaohs

Egypt, the most ancient country known for its kings called Pharaohs who were its rulers more than 5000 years ago

Egypt, the most ancient country known for its kings called Pharaohs who were its rulers more than 5000 years ago. Millions of visitors from all around the world today visit this country to behold and admire one of the seven wonders of the world, The Great Pyramids of Giza, believed to be 4500 years old.

Today, these Great Pyramids are witnessing the growth of one of the greatest sports of all the times, in its vicinity.

Yes it,s cricket. In the ground nearby, you will find here some enthusiastic cricketers perfecting their square drives and shining the seam of the new cherry. These are some expatriates of mixed nationalities, predominantly Indians who play cricket amongst themselves for fun and for the love of the sports.

Cricket in Cairo has been existing for some years though and is promoted by some Indians who have been working here. However, in the last two years these cricket enthusiasts are facing a problem of a ground. Before, they used to play in the American College ground which is no longer available as it is being used by them for playing Rugby.

Therefore, the practice now taken place in the makeshift ground of Mena House Oberoi meant for its staff for playing football. The ground is small, uneven and the turf is far from desirable. The small cricket playing community is trying to improve this ground through its own resources.

In June 2000, they had organized a match with a team from Alexandria. Port Said and Alexandria are the other cities where cricket is played by expatriates consisting of Indians, Sri Lankans & the Brits. They all organize their cricket gears by themselves while travelling home on vacation.

Cricket is not known to local Egyptians except those who have travelled abroad or have seen it on the sports channels. However, there is one ardent cricket follower who is an Egyptian doctor. He was educated in London and regularly attends the practice with great passion.

There are lot of International schools in Cairo with students from Britain, India, Pakistan and South Africa. They also have lot of Egyptian students from the affluent families. If cricket is introduced in these schools, it can get popular among local Egyptians too and can be taken up at a larger scale scale in this country. To achieve this purpose, ICC Cricket Development Officer, Mr. Hossain Ayob is in touch with Mr. Ajay Mehra in Cairo and is shortly planning a visit to this great country.