Flintoff planning to make UAE his second home

October 30th, 2008 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 30 (IANS) England’s charismatic all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is all set to open a branch of his cricket academy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is also likely to make his second home in this Gulf nation.The cricketer is looking at several places in the UAE to open a branch of the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy, which he launched in England last year, and is also looking for a school for his three children, according to reports here Thursday.

“The plan is that the academy will grow and grow and not just be something in England,” former England cricketer Neil Fairbrother, who represents Flintoff, told The National newspaper.

“He really liked one school. He has a daughter who is four years old so it is important that should the family move out to Dubai, everything is right. It would not be all year round but would be a good base for him,” he added.

The cricketer has two other sons, aged two and six months.

Flintoff is also in touch with real estate agents to find a suitable home in Dubai.

According to the report, though Flintoff is committed to playing for England every summer, he wants to spend the rest of the year in the UAE.

The move comes even as the England and Wales Cricket (ECB) is trying to keep its players home for the proposed English Premier League (EPL) Twenty20 tournament.

Both EPL and the hugely successful Indian Premier League (IPL) are actively wooing the talismanic all-rounder.

The UAE is slowly emerging as a cricketing centre after Sharjah’s relative obscurity in the past few years.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has shifted its headquarters from London to Dubai and an ICC global cricket academy is also coming up at the new Dubai Sports City (DSC).

A brand new cricket stadium is also being opened at DSC in which Twenty20 and other forms of cricket are being planned.

Next month, the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi will host three one-dayers between Pakistan and the West Indies.

With several teams not willing to visit Pakistan citing security, that subcontinental nation has said that it was looking at playing its future bilateral series in the UAE.

The UAE’s national cricket team is also vying to qualify for cricket’s World Cup to be held in the subcontinent in 2011.

If Flintoff does settle down in Dubai, he will join other sportsmen like tennis star Roger Federer and golfer Henrik Stennson, who have bases in this West Asian metropolis.

The all-rounder has scored 3,494 runs and taken 206 wickets in 70 Tests and 3,277 runs and 159 wickets in 133 one-dayers.

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