Muscat – There was colour and music and there were some amazing strokeplay and bowling performances on the opening day of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground on Sunday.
Watching all of that was the International Cricket Council (ICC) acting CEO Geoff Allardice from the Royal Box
along with H H Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, members of the Royal Family, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly and other dignitaries.
In an exclusive chat with Muscat Daily after Oman’s victory over PNG in the opener, Allardice said, “Three months
ago, I had visited the same venue. And today, it looks amazing. I would like to congratulate Oman Cricket for what
they have done in such a short time. ICC had envisaged then that the venue should look in such a manner that it would match the standards of a world-class event. Kudos to them [Oman Cricket] for delivering what they had promised. The venue looks just fantastic.”
He added, “It has been an outstanding day for Oman Cricket with the beautiful opening ceremony followed by the national team’s victory. There couldn’t have been a better start for the home team.”
Speaking about the opening ceremony OC had organised to mark the Omani Women’s Day with the performance of an all-Omani women’s Royal Cavalry band, Allardice said, “Usually, we try to accommodate the hosts’ board request. Today, we had an Omani flavour to the opening ceremony and it was well received by people in the stadium.”
The ICC’s top boss said that ‘Oman cricket have been developing over the past ten years. The profile of Oman as an international cricket country and the team is growing. The hosting of the T20 World Cup is yet another step in that direction.
“They have been doing some astounding work on and off the field and I am very impressed with what they have achieved so far.”
Likely to be watched by over 3.5bn TV viewers, the T20 World Cup is expected to put Oman in the global spotlight.
After the opening match win on Sunday, Oman will next play Bangladesh on Tuesday and conclude their group engagements with a match against Scotland on Thursday.