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SportCricketCricket is now number two sport in the world, says Warne

Cricket is now number two sport in the world, says Warne

Published: 28th Oct 2020 6:00 pm

Dubai: With an estimated 2.5 billion fans, cricket is the second most popular sport in the world right now, and this year’s ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament taking place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates is attracting more viewers than the Superbowl. Just ask Shane Warne.

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“There was a study done over the last few months that revealed that soccer – or football – was voted the number one sport in the world, and cricket is now number two. It’s a huge sport now,” he said. “The first game in the IPL this year saw 200 million eyeballs watch it… which is twice as big as the Superbowl. So, imagine the finals when it comes up!”

Australian cricket legend Warne – who is in Dubai serving as a mentor for the Rajasthan Royals, as well as an ambassador for IPL 2020 – took time out of his busy schedule to meet fans at a limited-capacity, special screening of “Inside Story: A Season with Rajasthan Royals” at VOX Cinemas, Mall of the Emirates on Sunday. During the event, he also recounted some of his sporting experiences as a captain, coach and mentor for the Rajasthan Royals so far, in conversation with Emirati cricket player and Red Bull athlete, Chirag Suri.

Australian cricket legend said: “We need to applaud all the IPL 2020 players… it hasn’t been easy for them, being in a bubble for five months.”

Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment said, “We were excited to collaborate with Red Bull to host this special screening and Q+A session. As part of our partnership, we will also be showing a series of extreme sports documentaries in the coming weeks to meet the growing demand for high-quality action sports content on the big screen. This is aligned with Majid Al Futtaim’s commitment to continuously innovate and diversify the experiences we offer in line with guest feedback and emerging trends. These screenings will also bring new audiences to VOX Cinemas and provide filmmakers with a prominent platform to showcase their films to a broader audience.”

Warne acknowledged that it has taken a lot of adjustment for everyone involved. “It has been an amazing ride for the Rajasthan Royals over the last 12 years. [This year] we put together a really good squad, but unfortunately, we haven’t all clicked at the same time. One thing you do miss is the fans in India; the energy they create at the games. It’s hard to describe unless you’ve been to a game in India. It’s amazing; the people, the fans, the noise, the energy, and as an athlete you can feed off that,” he explained. “Obviously our team was selected for those conditions.”

Warne continued: “Some of the conditions here in Dubai are a little bit different, but I think as the tournament goes on, and the wickets get slower, I think should suit the way we play the game a little bit better too.”

The cricket star went on to say that the players – who have to be in isolation as a safety precaution – have understandably found conditions to be a challenge.

“Dubai is a great place to have the IPL here. Some of the guys were saying, imagine if there was a full house [at the stadium right now]? We need to applaud all the players, because it hasn’t been easy, being in a bubble for five months. The bubble has been quite tough for the players.

“I mean, it’s great that they can do it. For us to be able to watch all sport around the world; not just the cricket you know, while we’re in lockdown helps put a smile on our face, and helps our mental health and makes us feel good,” he said. “To all sporting people playing all the sports at the moment; I say thank you very much for allowing us to watch.”

INSIDE STORY

Produced by Red Bull Media House, “Inside Story: A Season with Rajasthan Royals” is a three-part documentary that charts the team’s rollercoaster 2019 season, featuring England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Australian star Steve Smith.

 Alongside Smith and Stokes, home-grown stars Sanju Samson, Varun Aaron and Riyan Parag feature on and off the pitch, with scenes involving management and their loyal supporters, who believed that “bad luck” was behind the tough first few matches of last season. It also shines light on the team’s passion for unearthing new talent with age-level tournaments like Red Bull Campus Cricket and Rajasthan Royal’s own talent-building programs like Royals Colts and Sparks.


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