For a football-crazy country like Oman, hosting an ICC event can be a watershed moment for the sports with their team playing in the tournament.
Speaking to India Today.In, Madhu Jesrani, the secretary of Oman Cricket, opens up about Oman cricket hosting an ICC event, pitches, infrastructure, Covid-19 situation, and what it means for Oman to host the ICC T20 World Cup.
On the pitches
As per Madhu Jesrani, the pitches in Oman will be low and slow, just like the sub-continent, and will be conducive to spinners.
"It will be like sub-continent pitches. You can say that it might help the spinners," Jesrani said.
Oman have never hosted any international cricket apart from the associate nation matches. The Oman Cricket has a big task on their hand as they will have to upgrade its facilities within three months to match the ICC requirements.
"We don't have stadiums; we have got two grounds. On one ground, we have two dressing rooms. On the other ground, construction is underway. Apart from that, the floodlights are also not of a high standard, and we will have to upgrade the lighting. Also, the scoreboards are small and we need to change that as well, and there will be a live TC screen, too," said Jesrani.
Oman is expected to host the initial matches of the T20 World Cup, which will act as a qualifier for the main draw. However, it is still unclear how many games will be held in Oman.
"A team of BCCI and ICC will visit Oman next week to take stalk of preparation, and then only I guess we will be able to know how many matches Oman is going to host," said Jesrani.
Cricket in Oman
In recent years, cricket's popularity has grown significantly in Oman and it has become the second famous sport after football in the country.
"The popularity of cricket has increased. It has now become the second sport behind football in schools and colleges. Hosting the T20 will be a big boost for us as the local team (Oman) will also be playing in it, and it will help to create more fan base in cricket," said Jesrani.
"Hosting an ICC event is beyond our dreams. We are receiving full support from the Oman government, and our priority is to deliver the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 safely," said Jesrani.
On Covid-19 situation in Oman
the tournament has been moved from India because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the situation is not looking good in Oman too. For a smaller country like Oman, it is registering 2,000 cases and averaging 40 deaths daily in June.
Oman cricket is hoping that there will be spectators in the stadium, and they are trying to accommodate 3,000 to 4,000 fans.
"The situation is not encouraging. We have a night curfew from 8 pm to 6 am. The government will make the final decision on spectators in the stadium, but our preparations are going perfectly fine without any hiccups," Jesrani signed off.
1st Test, Galle, 16-18 Apr 2023
3rd T20I, Queenstown, 08 Apr 2023
Only Test, Mirpur, 04-07 Apr 2023
2nd T20I, Dunedin, April 05, 2023