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COVID-19: Focus on safety, discipline as new cricket season set to start in Oman

Close to hundred teams will be seen in action as OC looks to bring its domestic season in line with International Cricket Council standards and practices.

By Shahzad Raza
September 30, 2020 3:45 pm

MUSCAT: Soon after the Supreme Committee’s green signal for resumption of sports activities in the country, Oman Cricket (OC) has finalized its plans for an eventful 2020-21 season that will see the games being played under the strict safety guidelines and health protocols issued by the competent authorities.

With the resumption of sports activities, Oman Cricket Academy has also opened its doors to all the youngsters looking for quality coaching and training at its world class indoor and outdoor facilities.

Close to hundred teams will be seen in action as OC looks to bring its domestic season in line with International Cricket Council (ICC) standards and practices. The first phase will start on Friday, October 16 with T20 games across all Senior Division tournaments which will see as many as 57 teams in action without the presence of spectators which are currently not allowed. Junior Division has attracted 31 teams so far. The final number of teams will be known only when the schools open. A total of six sides will compete for Women’s League honours. 

“Focus on human safety, strict enforcement of discipline and increased use of technology will be the highlights of the new season which is expected to help us prepare well for our international assignments,” said Duleep Mendis, Chief Development Officer, Oman Cricket. 

“All the games will be held under the strict safety guidelines including social distancing and proper sanitizing of dressing rooms, sitting area, washrooms and dining rooms before, during and after the play. Teams will be advised to follow the health protocols before the games start,” added the Sri Lankan great.

Focus on players’ development will be another highlight of the new season. Oman Cricket will lend a helping hand to Premier Division teams by making match videos available to them soon after the game on NV Play website. 

“We know the bulk of Oman national team talent comes from the Premier Division and that’s why we are helping them to work on their strengths and weaknesses so that they come better prepared for international tournaments,” explained Mendis, who is also Oman’s head coach.

Oman Cricket has also introduced the ICC-adopted concussion replacement rule for the Premier and A Division competitions this season which will see a pre-nominated player in  for a concussed player. 

Adopting a zero tolerance approach to dissent and indiscipline, OC is going to award demerit points on code of conduct violations in Premier and A Division games.

“We felt the need to enforce strict discipline, particularly in the top tier of our competitions, so that our players are used to ICC’s demerit points system,” added Mendis.

 Training sessions at Oman Cricket Academy will resume on Sunday, October 4.

“Players who had already registered before the Covid-19 lockdown was enforced are welcome to join us. We would be happy to welcome new youngsters who want to learn the game or improve further to go ahead and register at Oman Cricket’s website and make the full use of our wonderful facilities and highly experienced coaching staff,” said Evert Laubscher, OCA Manager and Oman National Team Trainer.

“There is no change in the fee structure and session timings and we will be in contact with all those who had registered in March. There is no age restriction at the moment. With regards to group sessions, we have put in place strict safety measures and health protocols and we will be looking at a maximum of five students and one coach as against ten students and one coach prior to the lockdown. We have enough space available in out indoor facility with eight nets which means we can adhere to all the social distancing regulations and protocols,” Evert added.

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