Riyadh: Former international cricketer Kevin Pietersen has praised Saudi officials for their success in boosting the profile of the game in the Kingdom.
The star batsman and ex-England team captain made his comments during a recent visit to the Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation headquarters in Riyadh.
In a statement, the federation said: “Prince Saud bin Mishal Al-Saud, chairman of the SACF, hosted the cricket legend in Riyadh.
“During the meeting, they discussed the cricket federation’s strategy and methods of developing the game in the Kingdom.”
The meeting was also attended by several SACF board members, employees, and businesspeople.
In August, the federation announced the establishment of four new regional associations to help promote the sport throughout the Kingdom.
It now has 15 official associations covering nine regions and aims to set up more to take in the whole of the country with a long-term plan for Saudi cricket teams to compete professionally in regional and international competitions.
Pietersen and federation officials also discussed progression paths for Saudi cricket talents, the establishment of academies and infrastructure projects, and the development of a strong national league producing players and teams capable of competing on the international stage.
The SACF was established in 2020 and lined up a series of major initiatives the following year, including a national cricket championship, a corporate tournament, a league for expatriate workers, and a social program in several cities.
The programs were part of a mission to promote healthy and active lifestyles under the Saudi Vision 2030’s Quality of Life scheme, with the federation — supported by the Ministry of Sports and the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee — mandated to increase physical activity levels by 40 percent over the next decade.
During his trip to Riyadh, Pietersen also visited the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City, and the At-Turaif district in Diriyah, the cradle of the first Saudi dynasty and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City has a focus on all facets of sustainable urban planning. Located in the heart of Riyadh, the dedicated modern, self-sufficient, and fully adaptable incubator district for the new ambitious Saudi generation, supports the MiSK Foundation’s aim to cultivate learning and leadership in young people to help build the Saudi Arabia of tomorrow.