From autographed bat of Bradman to Tendulkar’s gloves, it’s all there
Dubai: The UAE’s only cricket museum will be open to the public from next week. Owned by cricket enthusiast and promoter Shyam Bhatia, the museum which has an unique collection of memorabilia, had remained a private affair since it was built in 2010.
Bhatia said: “Following requests from schools, budding cricketers and lovers of the game, this museum will be open for public every Saturday from 4 to 6pm.
“Ever since I set up this museum on April 18, 2010 – a special day which coincides with my annual awards for cricket excellence in the UAE – I have collected equipment used by top cricketers, engraved the history of the game and that of cricket playing nations on the museum walls. I want fans and budding cricketers to get inspired by seeing them and also enrich their knowledge of the game.”
A notable feature on the walls are paintings of a selection of great cricketers done by South African artist Richie Ryall. “I have over 180 autographed bats from great players. They all have signed over their profiles engraved in the bat, which narrates the highlights of their career,” added Bhatia.
Among his rare collections are the autographed bats of legends like Donald Bradman and Sunil Gavaskar and the batting gloves of Sachin Tendulkar. “I have been present at every World Cup since 1975 and these are all collections from cricketers who have appreciated my love for the game.
“I have bats autographed by all the World Cup teams, courtesy the International Cricket Council. All the cricket boards have presented me their team cap, tie and crest except England. All the greatest pacers in the game have signed on cricket balls.”
Rare photographs of the victorious 1983 World Cup winning Indian team, the 1985 Benson and Hedges World Championship winning Indian team and snaps from the Bhatia awards for excellence in UAE cricket presented by legends every year adorn the walls of the museum.
Many school cricket teams from the UAE and even the UK have already visited the museum. The Kenyan national cricket team also recently toured the museum during their recent UAE tour.
On the guest book, one can find comments from top sportsmen and greats from various walks of life. Former Australian skipper Steve Waugh wrote: “This museum is a fantastic tribute to cricket. This will inspire many children to take up the game.”
South African pacer Alan Donald added: “If I had a place like this [museum], I would sleep in it.”
Imran Khan and Clive Lloyd have said that the museum is a testament of Bhatia’s passion for the game while umpire Simon Taufel remarked: “May the spirit of the game live on through this museum and be enjoyed by generations to come.”
The museum is located in Villa No. 200 on Street No. 24, Al Bada Road in Jumeirah. It will be open to public every Saturday from 4-6pm.