Thursday, September 23, 2021

Oman Cricket: Oman ready to make a mark as ICC T20 World Cup host and participant

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Oman will be in the thick of things both as a host country and a participating team poised to do well in home conditions as International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the groups of the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup to be hosted by the BCCI in the Sultanate and the UAE from October 17 to November 14.

The announcement was made at a ceremony showcasing the World Cup Trophy in the presence of ICC Acting CEO Geoff Allardice, BCCI President and former India captain Sourav Ganguly, BCCI Secretary and ACC President Jay Shah and Oman Cricket Chairman Pankaj Khimji at the picturesque Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) ground in Amerat. OC Secretary Madhu Jesrani, OC Chief Development Officer Duleep Mendis and the OC Board of Directors were also present.

The Round One will see eight teams vying for the four spots in the Super 12 that already has cricket’s eight elite nations divided in two groups based on the ICC rankings as of March 2021. 

Defending champions the West Indies have been pooled along with former champions England, Australia and South Africa in Group One of the Super 12s, with two qualifiers from Round One joining them.

Former champions India and Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and the other two qualifiers from Round One will form Group Two.

Automatic qualifiers Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will contest the Round One with the remaining six who booked their spots through the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019. Ireland, Netherlands and Namibia join Sri Lanka in Group A, whilst Oman, PNG and Scotland will face Bangladesh in Group B. 

With a highly impressive record in home conditions, Oman fancy their chances of making it to the Super 12. The team has done exceedingly well under the affable Duleep Mendis, the Sri Lankan stalwart who has been coaching the side for nearly a decade now. Their confidence will be boosted by memories of fantastic victories against Ireland, Nepal, Hong Kong and Netherlands in the Pentangular T20I Series that they won on their home ground last year.

Likely to be watched by over 3.5 billion TV viewers, the T20 World Cup will see Oman in the global spotlight.

Commenting on the occasion, Oman Cricket chief Pankaj said: “Playing in and hosting the event gives us an opportunity to showcase not just our commitment to growing the game but also showcasing Oman as a welcoming destination to the world. Oman Cricket has come a long way and today is a watershed moment for us to have ICC and BCCI here at Oman Cricket Academy to announce the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup groups.”

Announcing the World Cup groupings, Geoff Allardice said: “We are delighted to announce the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 groups. There are some great match ups offered by the groups and it starts to bring the event to life for our fans as our first multi-team event since the onset of the global pandemic draws closer. 

“Given the disruption caused by COVID-19, we selected the cutoff date as close as possible to the event to ensure we were able to include the maximum amount of cricket in the rankings which determine the groups. There is no doubt we will witness some highly competitive cricket when the event gets underway in just three months.”

Comparing Oman’s scenic cricket ground to the English countryside, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly said : “It is good to get Oman in the frame of world cricket with the hosting of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. It will help a lot of young players take an interest in the game. We know it will be a world class event in this part of the world.”

ACC President and BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said: “With the announcement of groupings, our countdown for the ICC T20 World Cup kickstarts. There is nothing that separates the two groups as both are packed with sides that are highly competitive in the shortest format of the game. Having said that, the exciting T20 format is known for its surprises, and we must be prepared for the same. I am sure we will witness some exciting and nail-biting games.”

“I am particularly delighted to be in Oman. As a major force in world cricket, the BCCI has always endeavoured to promote and assist Associate Nations. In my capacity as Asian Cricket Council President, my vision is to take cricket far and deep into Asia. Co-hosting the World Cup will put Oman Cricket on the global stage. They are also playing the Qualifiers and it will be an icing on the cake if they make it to the Super 12s,” Shah added.

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