RIYADH: The second edition of the National Cricket Championship got underway on Friday, the Saudi Sports for All Federation announced.
The competition, organized in cooperation with the Saudi Cricket Federation, will see matches played in 11 cities across 10 regions over a period of four months. The SFA said it expects the event to attract 8,000 participants.
The host cities are: Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Qassim, Tabuk, Medina, Yanbu, Jeddah, Abha, Jizan and Najran.
Running simultaneously will be the Softball Cricket Championship, which will take place in six cities and is set to attract about 5,000 players.
SFA President Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud said: “The return of the national championships, developed with our respected partners at the Cricket Federation, is an exciting time for the SFA. The engagement from across the country was electric in its first edition and we have even higher expectations for this year’s edition.
“The SFA continues to build on past successes. You asked for another competitive series, and we answered.”
Prince Khaled added that last year’s competition was one of the SFA’s most popular.
“The championship will engage residents and contribute to strengthening social communication while raising the standard of physical fitness,” he said.
Prince Saud bin Mishal bin Mohammed Al Saud, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation, said he welcomed the partnership with the SFA.
“The National Cricket Championship is one of the most significant achievements of the Quality of Life Program in the sports sector in 2021.
“Since its inception last year, it has succeeded in increasing the popularity of the game and raising the number of its practitioners to a record level in most regions in the Kingdom, and we look forward to cooperation with our partners to involve all categories and increase the number of practitioners and reach all regions.”
He added: “We hope to organize activities and tournaments that will contribute to increasing the popularity of the game and raise the interest of individuals of different ages and abilities in this ancient game.”
A total of 369 teams and 15 cricket associations were involved in last year’s championship. The matches took place over 14 weeks at 106 stadiums, with the help of 456 professional officials and volunteers.