If UAE gets the right exposure against the bigger teams, they can become a force to be reckoned with - Anis Sajan, Vice Chairman of Danube Group

If UAE gets the right exposure against the bigger teams, they can become a force to be reckoned with - Anis Sajan, Vice Chairman of Danube Group
2022-01-13 12:10 PM
0 min read

The United Arab Emirates has become a go-to destination for cricketing events, especially during the pandemic. Whether it’s the Indian Premier League or the World Cup, the presence of three cricketing grounds in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah combined with the ICC Academy means that it has infrastructure that can be considered at par with the best in the world. 

Mr. Anis Sajan, Vice Chairman of Danube Group, more popularly known as Mr. Cricket UAE has played an integral role in the development of the sport, having mentored Team Bengal Tigers and then Team Delhi Bulls in the Abu Dhabi T10 league. Moreover, he was honored with the Hon. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Bharat Puraskar award for Sports category and kept the world entertained with ‘Cricket Unplugged’, featuring interviews with cricketers from around the world during the lockdown.

In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Anis Sajan speaks about his interest in cricket, how the sport has evolved in the last two decades, being a mentor for Bengal Tigers and Delhi Bulls, the potential of UAE to become a cricketing powerhouse, importance of yoga during the pandemic and launching Cricket Unplugged.

Q 1. Being a businessman, when and how did you cultivate your interest towards cricket?

My passion for the sport began — like the many millions in India — after the team under Kapil Dev won the Prudential Trophy in 1983. That triumph by the rank outsiders against the mighty West Indies gave everyone in the country the belief that India could be a force to reckon with. There was no looking back for me after that. Everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I eat, sleep and breathe cricket. So much so that my wife started calling me Mr. Cricket UAE and that name has stuck with me till date. I feel I am fortunate to be able to live this passion for the game and share it with all other cricket lovers through various activities. 

Q 2. You have been contributing so much to the sport for the past two decades, what do you think has changed a lot about cricket?


Cricket has become more fast paced, there have been more results in Test cricket. Secondly the big 3, i.e. India, England and Australia get to play more matches than any other countries and the most important thing happening for India after the evolution of IPL, there is a lot of talent emerging.

Q 3. How was your experience being the mentor for Bengal Tigers and Delhi Bulls in the Abu Dhabi T10 league?


It was a great learning experience for me.  Not only did I get a chance to associate with some of the biggest names in the cricket fraternity but also learnt quite a few lessons both on and off the field. Got to understand all the hard work that goes behind the game, how decisions are taken by the coaches as well as the temperament of the players.

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Q 4. With the ongoing historic US vs Ireland series, what other countries including the UAE do you think will enter the mainframe formats next?


To my knowledge I don’t see any other country, because they do not get enough exposure. UAE has the best infrastructure when it comes to cricketing grounds, be it the Dubai Cricket Stadium, ICC Academy, Sharjah & Abu Dhabi stadium. If they get the right exposure of rubbing shoulders with bigger teams, they can be a force to reckon with.

Q 5. How has Yoga been a part of fitness and why do you think people need to practice it especially during the pandemic?

Without an iota of doubt, I can say that Yoga has been my life savior. I have been a strong advocate of yoga for a good 7-8 years now, especially since I have personally experienced the benefits of it. As a daily routine, I practice yoga for 2 hours; first 45 minutes of proper yoga asana, 15 min brisk walking and then Aqua Yoga exercises for 30 minutes, followed by 20 minutes of meditation and 20 minutes of pranayama. This regime keeps me refreshed, energetic, youthful and full of life. In this pandemic, I would urge people to at least do the Pranayama, i.e breathing exercises daily. Studies have shown that the most common problem experienced by covid patients is breathing difficulties. Practicing pranayama for twenty minutes daily helps in passing oxygen to lungs and makes your immunity strong and in this battle to fight Covid.

Q 6. What made you launch Cricket Unplugged and are there more cricket ventures in the making?

Well to be honest, Cricket Unplugged was started during the pandemic when the world had come to a standstill and everyone was stuck at home. With no games happening either, I thought why not keep the spirit of the game alive and started Cricket Unplugged, where I would have conversations with international players and known sporting personalities. The interactions would revolve around historical moments as well as unveiling personal memories of the interviewed players during their respective careers. Till date, I have had the honour to interview the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Shane Watson,Dwayne Bravo, Eoin Morgan, Virendra Sehwag, Micheal Hussey, Harpreet Brar, Zaheer Khan, Jason Roy, Muhammed Nabi, Angelo Mathews, Wasim Jaffer, Harpreet Brar and many others.