In a groundbreaking collaboration earlier this year, Rajasthan Royals and NEOM embarked on a visionary cricket programme. The aim - elevate the sport of cricket and enhance liveability in a region that is dominated by a large, multi-cultural, passionate workforce community. This gave birth to the first-ever workforce engagement programme in Saudi Arabia, powered by the Royals and NEOM.
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Kicking off with a leadership program, 25 employees across the NEOM ecosystem underwent comprehensive training facilitated by the Royals coaches. From coaching methodologies to effective team management, the initiative laid the groundwork for a transformative cricketing experience.
Then came the community cricket tournament that featured 88 gripping league matches, 40 registered teams, and over 700 players from 17 nationalities and 57 companies, which showcased unparalleled dedication and enthusiasm. The programme was also witness to special masterclasses from our Head of Academy Coaching Siddhartha Lahiri, who recently visited the region to spend time with the players, and a special visit from our CEO Jake Lush McCrum, whose encouraging words were enough to motivate them even further.
The culmination of this endeavour was the competition's thrilling grand final on December 8th, 2023 which witnessed the star-studded presence of the legendary Sri Lankan ex-cricketer and Royals' Director of Cricket Kumar Sangakkara, adding an extra layer of excitement.
Notably, Team OSAIMI emerged victorious, chasing down a target of 115 with 3 balls to spare and remaining unbeaten. Individual brilliance shone with 5 centuries and over 10 teams surpassing the 200-run mark, a testament to the exceptional talent and competitive spirit on display.
Beyond the cricketing action, each Friday during the tournament exemplified the power of sport in fostering connections and celebrating a shared love for the game. It echoed the values of unity, teamwork, and the sheer joy of cricket, proving that cricket's universal language can unite people beyond boundaries.
More than a tournament, this initiative underscores NEOM and Rajasthan Royals' commitment to fostering a more active society, bringing people together through the transformative power of cricket. It's a triumph that goes beyond the boundaries of the cricket field, exemplifying the universal spirit of the game.