- Prince Saud bin Mishal Al-Saud expresses joy at Kingdom’s triumph at ACC Men’s Challenger Cup 2023
RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Cricket Federation Chairman Prince Saud bin Mishal Al-Saud has expressed his delight at seeing the Kingdom’s national team win their first international trophy since the SACF’s formation in 2020.
Last Sunday, Saudi Arabia won the inaugural ACC Men’s Challenger Cup 2023 in Bangkok, beating Bahrain by 10 wickets in just four overs.
The men in green maintained a perfect record of five wins from five matches in the tournament.
“It’s our first win as a federation since we were established more than two years ago, and that would’ve never happened without the endless support of our government, the Ministry of Sports, the Olympic Committee and all regional associations,” said Prince Saud in an exclusive interview with Arab News after returning from Bangkok. “They honestly made our job easier to perform and reach this point.”
When asked if a professional cricket league system in the Kingdom is on the cards, he replied: “As we know, Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the region with the biggest number of teams and players. So there will be leagues on all levels, not just one league.
“And to answer that question precisely, we’ve developed throughout our time in the federation great relationships with the International Cricket Council, the global governing body of cricket, and the Asian Cricket Council, the organization that promotes and develops the sport of cricket in Asia, as well as some successful international cricket boards and big cricketers globally.”
High-profile figures form the world of cricket have offered their expertise and backing for cricket in the Kingdom.
“And then we hired experts to help us develop a model of a league that engages Saudi club brands along with all regional associations,” said Prince Saud.
“Of course, a lot of infrastructure and development are required, but we’ll announce when it’s time.”
Outlining his vision for the sport — including producing a competitive international team in Saudi Arabia — and his ambitions for domestic and international cricket over the coming years, he said: “Our aim is to create a sustainable industry for locals and expats living in the Kingdom and make Saudi Arabia a global cricketing destination.”
The Saudi team’s comprehensive victory in the ACC Men’s Challenger Cup in Thailand came in a 50-over one-day international competition.
The Challenger Cup is the first staging post in the ACC’s restructured three-tier pathway toward the Asia Cup 2023 to be hosted by Pakistan.
It was composed of eight teams divided into two groups, and was designed to provide increased opportunities for a larger number of its members to display their talents.
The Saudi cricket team will now play the first edition of the 2023 ACC Men’s Premier Cup in Nepal, a tournament that provides a qualification pathway toward the Asia Cup 2023 in Pakistan.