For decades there had been none, for some years now, even four or six would not have been enough such is the increase in cricket activity in Oman. Now the Sultanate, after what Oman Cricket has called “a crippling crisis of grounds”, cricket in Oman has eight grounds, including one fully turfed one.
These new grounds come after two of the four mainstays of Oman’s local leagues, OAC VI and PDO grounds became unavailable this season. Two complete leagues would have gone as well as a cup event. The public sector has stepped in though, thanks to some adroit lobbying by Oman Cricket and four Muscat Municipality grounds and two Ministry of Sports Affairs grounds will be used for cricket next season. All six grounds are close to each other as a very vital hub for cricket is being established.
“We are indeed very relieved and happy that we’ll have enough grounds for the forthcoming season. We are in fact highly grateful to Muscat Municipality and Ministry of Sports Affairs for the enormous support we received from them in meeting the grounds crisis. Cricket will not be at the mercy of any organisation or individual. All the six new grounds are owned by the Ministry of Sports Affairs and Muscat Municipality who have assured us of their full support. Let’s hope these grounds will now serve the game of cricket for many years to come,” said Oman Cricket’s Pankaj Khimji (also an ACC Executive Board Member and ICC Affililates Representative).
Lack of grounds, lack of turf have been handicapping Oman as they seek to race away from the chasing pack of Affiliates and cement their standings at ACC and ICC tournaments. “Now that we have a decent infrastructure in place there is no reason why we should not improve to the next level. I am quite confident that now we should be able to hold our own in international cricket. I see promoting cricket at the grassroots level as the next challenge for OCC. Grooming young players and building strong bench strength for the National teams will be our next target,” added Mr. Khimji.
Oman Cricket General Secretary Madhu Jesrani says, “I do not rule out an early start to the new season. In fact, we may start A Division 50-over league before Ramadan. Next season will be a long one with much more cricket.”
”It’s not just about having grounds for matches,” says ACC Development Officer for Oman Iqbal Sikander
who coached the team in the recent ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier
, “its about having enough grounds for practise, for junior cricket, for grass-roots development. Oman have done very well to secure these grounds.”Related:Oman Cricket ProfileFiled May 31st, 2012