A cricketing event of expatriates turned into a mega show of “unity, love and strength” for the people of Kashmir when the Kashmir Super League final match was played at the iconic Dubai International Stadium. Jubilant players and a crowd proud of its roots relished every moment of togetherness in the Arabian deserts, seas apart from their homeland.

From commentary and cheering by crowds in Kashmiri, it was Kashmir making its presence felt in numerous avatars at the Dubai International Stadium on March 24, as Rajbagh Royals clashed Razay Kadal SuperHereos at the 20:20 event.

Though Razay Kadal team won the toss and elected to bat scoring 172 for the loss of three wickets, it was Raj Bagh team that emerged victorious at the last ball of the day and night match.

A total of 14 teams were participating in the event, which made Kashmir make international news for something beyond the otherwise newsy K-issue. With Friday being the weekend off in the Middle East, Kashmiris living in every nook and corner of the United Arab Emirates ensured to be present for the mega final that was also attended by a special 35-member delegation comprising of distinguished individuals from their homeland in the far-off Himalayas.

Seen as the brain child of Kashmiri youth Inayat Fazili and his friends Imran, Arafat and Zubair, who work in the UAE, KSL has become a household name even back home in Kashmir.

The role of a prominent Kashmir businessman Sheikh Feroz who heads the Al Khuddam group of companies has been equally encouraging in making the event go popular. Besides promotion of the game, Sheikh ensured a live stream of the gaming at the big TV at his restaurant in Srinagar.

At the Dubai venue, while some youth like Abid Ahmed had pasted Kashmir stickers on their cheeks, Reyaz Ahmed a network administrator had brought his family along.

But a woman with salt and pepper hair stood equally distinct.  Standing and waving her hands all through the three-hour game, educationist Dr Parveen Naaz kept cheering with all her energy. Dr Naaz and her husband Dr Farooq Wasil have been mentoring the KSL. “They all players and organizers are like our children, so we have been by them all the times,” the couple told InUth.

But interestingly none of the hosts wants to take exclusive credits for making the event a success. “Just like the players, ours has been a team effort, so basically every Kashmiri has contributed in making this event a success. Instead of taking credit, we just want to say and spread one thing: Long live Kashmir!”