MUSCAT: Oman’s wonderful cricket facilities have met International Cricket Council’s (ICC) highest approval and the country is now an accredited Test, One-day International (ODI) and T20 International venue. Afghanistan has chosen to play its home Test, ODI and T20’s series at Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) Ground 1, the newest addition to the elite club of Test cricket grounds.
Afghanistan is set to play a three-match ODI series against Ireland this month with the first game scheduled for January 26 followed by the next two matches on January 29 and 31 in Amerat.
This will be followed by Afghanistan’s Test and T20I series against Zimbabwe, now scheduled to be held in Oman in February in which they will play two Test matches and three Twenty20 Internationals.
“This is a big news and a wonderful achievement for Oman Cricket. The New Year has started on such a promising note for the Sultanate. Apart from UAE, Oman is the only other Associate nation to enjoy Test, ODI and T20I status. This is a very proud moment for us all,” said an elated Madhu Jesrani, Secretary, Oman Cricket.
“Oman Cricket is delighted to know that the Sultanate has become an accredited venue for Test matches, ODI and T20 Internationals. The credit must go to our chairman Kanak Khimji and the Board of Directors for guiding us through thick and thin all these years. This honour and achievement is a realization of our chairman’s dream. Oman hosting Test matches and all forms of international cricket is a dream come true. This was his vision and we should all thank him for guiding us to the path,” said Duleep Mendis, Chief Development Officer at Oman Cricket and coach of national team.
ICC accreditation did not come easy. The procedure was quite tough and Oman Cricket had to work hard to meet all the requirements.
“When it comes to hosting Test matches and white ball international cricket, they (ICC) go into certain details. Fortunately, we fulfilled almost everything. Oman Cricket Academy is such a fantastic centre that it has everything. All the necessary facilities are there in one location. Most of the ICC officials have been here and seen the facility and they are very happy to grant this accreditation to Oman Cricket Ground. I must acknowledge that Pankaj Khimji played a key role in getting ICC’s attention to our facility in Amerat and we thank him for being so effective and helpful,” explained Mendis.
Oman also plans to boost seating capacity of the ground before the first Test match takes place here.
“This will be a long tour and we need to plan and prepare well to give a good account of the facilities that we have. We are determined to make this a successful event. There will be many more international series taking place in Oman, bringing in top broadcasting companies here telecasting the games which will be viewed live around the world. This kind of international exposure is sure to benefit Oman,” said Mendis.
Afghanistan’s series against Ireland and Zimbabwe were originally scheduled to be held in UAE and India respectively but will now be held in Oman.