Mr. Shyam Alimchand Bhatia is a native of India and a resident of the UAE for the last 45 years where he founded the Alam Steel Group in 1979. Over the last 30 years, Alam Steel has become one of the largest steel companies in the Middle-East. Alam Steel was ranked as one of the top 20 most influential suppliers in the Middle East.
Mr. Bhatia was born in 1942 in Mirpurkhas, Sindh Province of the undivided India and migrated to Ajmer, Rajasthan during the partition of India in 1947. He was educated at Ajmer where he excelled for the school cricket team and went on to play at the first-class level for Rajasthan and Saurashtra in various national tournaments.
Mr. Bhatia arrived in Dubai in 1965 to work as a marketing executive for the New India Assurance Company. He decided to start his own business in the building materials sector in 1979. He spent the better part of three decades building his business before embarked on his ‘2nd innings’ which was to form a charitable foundation benefiting young children.
Mr. Bhatia initiated his Cricket For Care Foundation in 2007 on the premise that his success in the field of business was primarily due to the lessons learnt on the sports ground. He firmly believes that sport is one of the best ways to instill critical developmental disciplines to young children. “Sport teaches you discipline, teamwork, leadership, and integrity at an early age,” he states. The mandate of the foundation is to provide cricket equipment, facilities and coaching to underprivileged children all over the world. The foundation has made donations in over 20 countries around the world including non-cricket playing countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Japan, and has donated over a $1 million since inception.
Mr. Bhatia published a coffee table book on one-day cricket titled Portraits of the Game – Cricketing Greats Recall Their Magic Moments, and its sequel Portraits. The book became a globally sought after collector’s item and was invited by the Vice-President of India Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to present the book to him in Delhi. All proceeds from the sale of the book are given to the Foundation.
He has also helped the development of the sport in the UAE by sponsoring local tournaments and an annual awards event that honours the best performers in the local leagues. For the last 12 years, the event has always had a cricketing legend as its chief guest, like Clive Lloyd, Sunil Gavaskar, Imran Khan, Michael Holding, Ian Chappell, Ravi Shastri, Wasim Akram, Andrew Flintoff and Kapil Dev.
Mr. Bhatia has also curated his own cricket museum, possibly the only cricket museum of its kind in the world which has on display one of the largest collections of cricketing memorabilia like autographed bats, balls, rare books, art, photos, ties, caps, jackets and cricket equipments.
In 2011, he was named as one of the UAE’s 40 most influential Asians. Mr. Bhatia is married to his wife Vimla for the last 33 years and they have two grown up children who have successful careers.