With the new cricket season yet to start and a prolonged schedule that could witness matches being played well into the summer of 2015, the announcement that floodlight facilities will be ready in Oman in around six months’ time has come across as welcome news for administrators and players alike.

Pankaj Khimji, a senior board member of Oman Cricket (OC), said on Monday, “Floodlights will be up on the main ground in Amerat by March next year.”


H E Sheikh Saad al Saadi presents Maula Bakhsh al Balushi, Al Hail CT manager, with a special award from OC for promoting cricket

Khimji was speaking at OC’s annual awards ceremony for the 2013-14 season at Al Falaj Hotel. Khimji pointed out that the past season had been a ‘milestone year’ for cricket in Oman since the country was handed associate membership of the ICC last summer; the new status ‘bringing more responsibilities’ for OC. “We have four areas to focus on,” the OC functionary said.

“The ICC will look at our progress after two years; not just at our national teams’ performances, but also at our financial status and our administration. That apart, grassroots development, emphasis on Omani players, women’s and school cricket will be other areas of focus for us as we embark on a new journey following Oman becoming an associate member of the ICC.”

Among the major highlights in the coming season will be Oman hosting its first ever GCC women’s cricket tournament in December. Besides Oman, teams from UAE, Qatar and Kuwait will take part in the competition. Khimji thanked the Ministry of Sports Affairs for granting the OC ‘land extension’, which will help the national cricket body develop a second grass ground at Amerat.

“The second ground will have seven turf wickets and eight practice turf pitches for the benefit of our top-division teams. These facilities are expected to be ready by March next year, if weather permits.”

Currently, there are five practice pitches on the main grass ground in Amerat. Meanwhile, the setting up of an indoor cricket school in Amerat is expected to be completed in the next 14 months. The school would house an eighttrack playing facility, a gym, classrooms and an OC office.

At Monday’s awards function, H E Sheikh Saad al Saadi, the Minister of Sports Affairs, presided over the event and gave away prizes to winners from various divisions. He also gave away individual awards in the presence of Kanak Khimji, the OC chairman, Madhu Jesrani, OC general secretary, and other dignitaries.