A relaxing contrast to high profile events in the UK
During March I was working in the UAE, and there in the hotel where I was staying in Sharjah were the Pakistan cricket first team, and the English Lions representing England and Wales.
The weather was lovely with temperatures in the mid 70`s during the day. It was interesting to watch the players of each team, relaxing, but really using this time to prepare for the season, running round the lagoon, and getting fit. There were no raised voices, or bad behaviour, in fact quite the opposite, and each team came into the eating area well dressed, quietly enjoying the week.
There were several matches starting in Sharjah at the old cricket ground. No posters, no large crowds, just a few people like myself who had heard about the games and who had wandered along to find a bench and sit and watch a 20/20 match without the big coverage and hullabaloo which will come later in the year.
One lovely six went flying over the stands and later a young boy came proudly back with the ball which he had found the other side of a main road, stuck in the sand.
The teams later moved on to Abu Dhabi some 70 miles along the coast to play in the new stadium and ground. This, like the new world-class Formula 1 racing circuit is brand new, and full of bright lights and modern style.
Dubai in between Sharjah and Abu Dhabi likes to host sport during this time of the year, and just as with the cricket, tennis has a big following, with all the big names appearing in the small stadium near the airport in Dubai.
One evening I was watching Venus Williams play, and in the quiet of the late evening, and the general quiet of the match it was interesting to hear the chanting from the minaret as prayer time came.
If you want a winter break, and enjoy cricket motor racing, tennis, or golf you could do worse than stop off in the UAE to relax and enjoy your time.
By Bob Derham