The unveiling of the Al Emerat development plans in Muscat, November 23, 2013. From left to right: Oman Cricket Board Member Pankaj Khimji, ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq, MCC President 2012-2013 Mike Griffith, ICC President Alan Isaac, Oman Cricket Vice President and national player HH Qais Khalid Qais Al Said

Oman Cricket have unveiled a significant series of development plans which aim to take them to ICC Associate status and beyond over the next ten years. The plans, centred around the development of a site at Al Emarat into a two fully-turfed grounds, the main one having a 2000-seat stadium and floodlights, at a cost of US$6.5 million, were delivered to an audience including Patron-in-Chief and Minister of Heritage and Culture HH Sayyid Haitham Bin Tarik Bin Taimur Al Said, ICC President Alan Isaac, MCC President Mike Griffith and ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq.

Last week’s visit was the first by an ICC President to Oman. “We were all very impressed by Oman cricket’s plans, more so by their potential to become another cricketing force in the Gulf. With the work they have done over the past few years in creating the first turf ground at Al Emarat, with their encouragement of native Omanis to play at the highest possible level, the only Gulf country to do so, and with their performances on the field in ACC events, Oman has shown that they are ready, willing and able to move up to ICC Associate status,” said the ACC Chief Executive.

Action from a weekend match at Al Emarat

Oman’s plans for the cricket hub at Al Emarat, to be fully funded by the Omani government, include adding an eight-net floodlit academy to the two existing grounds, (one of which remains to be turfed), gymnasium and swimming pool. As part of its 3-year plan for development, Oman Cricket have appointed former national coach Duleep Mendis as Chief Development Officer. A supporter of indigenous cricket from the start, his new role will take in U-13 to senior team cricket. Quoted in the Muscat Daily Duleep said, “We have to begin development from the grassroots and this can only be done by taking cricket to schools.” His first assignment will be to prepare for the ACC U-19 Challenge in Thailand next month, where if Oman finishes as the top Affiliate they will fulfil an important element of their Associate application.

ACC Development Officer for Oman Iqbal Sikander was also in Muscat for the proceedings and said to the Oman Tribune, “So far, I’m very satisfied with the way things are moving and with the help of the ICC and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) coming in as well obviously it will make life easier with technical help and financial help.”

Oman Cricket Profile

Filed November 25th, 2013