Cricket in Saudi Arabia 


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Cricket is a sport that is growing in popularity in Saudi Arabia, a country that has a long history of playing the game. In this article, we will explore the origins, development, and achievements of cricket in Saudi Arabia, as well as the current state of the sport and its future prospects. 

The first references to cricket in Saudi Arabia date back to 1960, when the game was played by parish teams. By the mid-1970s, cricket became more organized and structured, with associations formed in different regions. The game was mostly played by expatriates from countries like India, Pakistan, England, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. In 2001, the legal status to organize cricket events was attained under the royal patronage of Princess Ghada bint Homoud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. In 2003, Saudi Arabia became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the global governing body of cricket. In 2016, Saudi Arabia was promoted to associate membership of the ICC, and also became the 39th full member of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), the regional body of cricket in Asia. 

Saudi Arabia has participated in various international cricket tournaments, mainly in the Twenty20 format, which is a shorter and faster version of the game. The Saudi Arabian national cricket team has played in the ACC Trophy, the ACC Twenty20 Cup, and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier. The team has achieved some notable victories, such as defeating the United Arab Emirates, and beating Kuwait by three wickets in the 2023 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub Regional Asia Qualifier A. The team is currently ranked 28th in the global T20 world ranking.

Saudi Arabia has a strong domestic cricket setup, with 15 regional cricket associations affiliated with the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation (SACF), the official governing body of cricket in Saudi Arabia. The SACF was established in 2020, with HRH Prince Saud bin Mishal Al Saud as its first president and chairman of the board of directors. The SACF operates under the auspices of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sport. The domestic cricket season runs from October to April, and features three major national competitions: the Saudi Premier League, the Saudi Cup, and the Saudi T20 Blast. The domestic cricket scene also involves over 370 registered cricket clubs, with more than 9,000 registered players, including junior cricketers. The SACF also provides facilities and training for cricket development, such as cricket grounds, academies, coaches, umpires, and educators. 

Cricket in Saudi Arabia is a sport that has a rich history, a vibrant present, and a promising future. The sport is attracting more fans and players, especially among the local population, who are embracing the game as part of their culture and identity. The SACF is committed to promoting and developing cricket in Saudi Arabia, with the vision of making the country a leading cricket nation in the region and the world. Cricket in Saudi Arabia is not just a game, but a passion, a lifestyle, and a source of pride. 

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