For decades, he longed for hosting a Test match in Oman. On Monday when Afghanistan decided to host their Test series against Zimbabwe in Muscat in February, it was a dream come true for Oman Cricket (OC) chairman Kanak Khimji.
In his remarks to media, Pankaj Khimji, the eldest son of the OC chief, said, “For Oman to become a Test centre is a real gift of 2021. The news is a mood-enhancing vaccine for cricket fraternity in the country. This is a phenomenal time for us. We have received our maiden Test accreditation for ground No 1 (main ground) at Al Amerat.
“To see Test cricket being played here in February between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will probably be the finest moment for my father, whose dream was always to bring Test cricket to Oman. When we see the first ball of a Test match being bowled, that will be probably the greatest moment for Kanakbhai and a tribute to my father, who is our [Oman Cricket] inspiration. For him, there can’t be anything big than the news of Test cricket coming to Oman.”
Pankaj said, “Becoming a Test venue is going to be a game-changer for cricket in the sultanate.” He appreciated the support of all the stakeholders to make Oman a Test venue.
“I must thank H H Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, H E Rashad al Hinai, the undersecretary at the Sports Ministry, for ensuring all the permissions are in place.
“We also pay our tributes to the Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his contribution and magnanimity in making us realise our dreams and putting Oman on the real map of Test cricket now. I would like to thank His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik al Said, Oman Cricket’s patron-in-chief for his invaluable contribution over the past 25 years that has made Oman one of the most renowned Associate nations in the world.”