(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sat 2 Dec 2023, 3:43 PM
Former England international Alex Hales, who is currently in his second year with Team Abu Dhabi, is as excited to be back in the UAE capital as he is for the UAE's sporting future.
Having spent time training and playing at Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub, and interacting with junior players at Zayed Cricket Academy and Al Ain Cricket Academy, Hales was just as much impressed by the facilities on offer as he has been by the talent of the youngsters using them.
At Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub, in particular, Hales sees immense potential to unearth and nurture an entire generation of future UAE sports stars.
"I really enjoy it here in Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub, it's a great facility," said the Team Abu Dhabi batter. "We were training here the other day, and we looked around and there were awesome tennis courts and so much more, too. There is a bit of everything here."
"It's a brilliant place to hopefully develop a generation of athletes across all sports. There are so many things to pick from. It's a great place to come and play."
Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub. - Picture courtesy @adsportshub X
It's not just the world-class sporting facilities that have left an impression on Hales.
A keen golfer, he has spent time on the many stunning courses of Abu Dhabi and the 34-year-old is equally enamoured with the UAE's renowned hospitality.
As a result of this affinity for the emirate, Hales takes great pride in representing the Abu Dhabi T10's home franchise.
"I like the fact that we are playing for the home team in the home city and a bit of the home support which we see out there," said Hales, who only called time on his England career in August this year.
"I'm proud to play with Team Abu Dhabi, it's my second year here and hopefully many more to come.
Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub - Picture courtesy @adsportshub/ X
"I love every food item here. Every time I come here, I put on three to four kilograms! The food in the whole country is so great. I eat everything. There are so many restaurants to choose from. You are really spoilt for choices. Put me down for one of each!"
"I visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque last year, which was really special," he continued.
"Also, the three main golf courses are among my favourite places and whenever I get a day off, I try and play golf."
Hales is currently looking to help Team Abu Dhabi win their first Abu Dhabi T10 title, but it's not just Cricket's Fastest Format taking place at Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub.
As well as the thriving community sport that occurs across more than 30 different sports throughout the day, England Cricket's Lions team are currently training on-site and will play an Afghanistan side in a three-day game from Sunday.
A host of county teams will also make the venue their home in the new year and Hales is not surprised by Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub's popularity.
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"It happens a lot in England, that a lot of county teams come down to Abu Dhabi to train for the pre-season and I can see why," said Hales.
"The facilities are brilliant. We have had two training sessions and the nets before the games are amazing. I can see why teams want to come here to train and why more teams can come here for hosting sessions."
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