IPL Desk in Mumbai 17 April 2014 - 07:22pm IST
The Super Kings' day out at Ferrari World
CSK players visit world's largest indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi
Batsman and bowler Suresh Raina, known for his off-spins, nearly spun off the tracks on the world’s fastest rollercoaster: “Riding the Formula Rossa was very exciting! It definitely got my adrenaline pumping,” enthused Raina. “When we arrived we were all a bit scared to go on the world’s fastest rollercoaster, but riding it was an amazing feeling. Once we’ve won a couple of matches I’ll be back to ride it again.”
The visit to Abu Dhabi was a team first, but for some cricket ‘royals’ it was a return nine years in the making. “It’s been nearly 10 years since my last visit to Abu Dhabi, when I played with the Indian national team against Pakistan, and the destination has really grown a lot over this period. I love the hospitality here, and people are very kind,” said Raina. “To be honest being here today was such a wonderful experience. We had the best time here.”
The Indian cricket icon went on to encourage fans to cheer on the team during Friday’s highly anticipated match clash. “I hope each and every family will enjoy each and every game over the next few days. We want all our fans to come and enjoy the matches, and I hope they will love this event.”
It was the second visit to Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi for CSK’s batsman Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis - Captain of the South African National team. And ‘Marathon Man’ outpaced his teammates as he decided to take a second spin on the theme park’s main attraction. “The Formula Rossa was definitely the highlight of our visit! It’s the world’s fastest rollercoaster, but it’s also the most pleasurable ride I’ve been on. I’ve spoken to quite a lot of the guys and they feel the same – the most extreme ride but also the most enjoyable. I had to do it two times in a row because it was so good! And it’s my second time here so it’s a really enjoyable experience.”
Sharing his excitement to be back in the emirate Faf explained: “Abu Dhabi is a bit of a hidden gem, as once you get here there’s so much to do, and the weather is really good, there’s a waterpark just across the road that’s nice in the heat, and it’s a really nice place to come and have a holiday, so I really enjoy the experience.”
As the team passed the theme park’s Midway Games, bowler Mohit Sharma challenged his team mates Suresh Raina and fast-medium bowler Matt Henry of New Zealand to an impromptu game of ‘Peel Out Pitch’. Sharma’s gamble paid off, as after an intense period of full length bowling through tyres, he was crowned the bowler king. Of his victory Sharma exclaimed: “It was wonderful! For me it was the highlight of our visit.”
Excited cricket fans couldn’t believe their eyes as the sports stars leisurely walked through the theme park, and eagerly cheered the team on when spotting them on the rides, chanting “CSK! CSK!” For some fans it was a dream come true getting up close and personal with the athletes.
For the Mundra family visiting from Mumbai it is a memory that will last for a long time, as they got a family photo with their hero Suresh Raina: “I brought my wife Monisha, and our kids Mradul and Mihika for a day of fun and excitement, but never dreamed we would see such superstars, let alone get to take a photo with them!”
Another happy snapper who got a photo with his idols was tour guide Vishal Saluja of Royal Arabia who had brought a group of visitors from Dubai for a full day of activities and sightseeing in Abu Dhabi: “We bring many visitors to experience ‘The History & Mystery of Abu Dhabi’. How I got to meet these cricket icons today is part of the mystery of Abu Dhabi. I cannot explain in words how excited I am to get a picture with them here today!”
The UAE leg of the Pepsi IPL 2014 kicked off on 16th April at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, with reigning champions Mumbai Indians taking on Kolkata Knight Riders. This prestigious tournament has grabbed the hearts of many living in this country, and IPL want to encourage all to purchase tickets and witness the world’s best cricketers in action.