Muscat – Oman Cricket (OC) continues to make big strides on and off the pitch. While the national team is getting ready to compete in the ICC T20 World Cup this June in the tournament, co-hosted by West Indies and the USA, the national governing body, is also gearing to host two major Asian Cricket Council (ACC) tournaments in 2024.
The revelation of Oman scheduled to host two major continental events was made by Oman Cricket Chairman Pankaj Khimji at the OC annual awards ceremony (2021-22 and 2022-23) held at the Oman Cricket Academy grounds recently.
Addressing Oman’s cricket fraternity at the ceremony that included chief guest, Muhammad bin Basheer al Jarf, Chairman of Omantel, Basil bin Ahmed al Rawas, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, star performers of two seasons, various division winners, dignitaries, OC board members and players, Khimji said: “I am proud of the achievements we have made in the past three years. We promise to continue to fly Oman’s flag high at the international stage. We will be hosting two ACC tournaments this year, with one of them to be the biggest ever staged by Oman towards the end of the year.”
The OC boss said that further details of the ACC events will be announced in future.
Khimji shed light on the progress made by the national team over the past three years and said that the awards ceremony, which is an annual feature, couldn’t be held due to the pandemic.
“Our quality of cricket is growing and the performance of the national team has been exceptional. Our organisational abilities were put to test twice and we came out with flying colours. Firstly, we set up the world-class facilities for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2021 in just 91 days. We continue to upgrade our facilities to top-level standards.
“Secondly, we were handed the project to set up the infrastructure facility for Oman Hockey Association (OHA) which successfully hosted the Paris 2024 Olympic Qualifiers recently and are now currently hosting the inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup Oman 2024. We put up the facility in just five months and the arena has been widely appreciated by the participating teams and FIH officials. I thank the project head, Damodar Katti, and others related to project for the successful completion of both projects.”
Khimji had words of praise for national team captain Zeeshan Maqsood and pace bowler Bilal Khan and said: “I am proud of them, the national team, and the support staff that has brought excellent results under the guidance of chief coach Duleep Mendis”
Earlier, Mendis, who is also OC chief development officer, spoke about the national team campaign from 2021 to the team’s qualification to the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 and Oman’s title win in the inaugural GCC T20 Cricket Championship held in Qatar in September 2023. Oman will compete in the T20 World Cup for the third time when it competes in the 2024 T20 World Cup.
At the T20 World Cup, Oman are clubbed with Australia, England, Namibia and Scotland in the mega-event that is projected to engage 5 billion-plus viewership across the globe.
Shoaib, Prajapati take MVP honours
At the awards ceremony, Shoaib Khan and Kashyap Prajapati of Muscat CT were adjudged the Most Valuable Player (MVP) cricketers in the top-flight Premier Division for the past two seasons.
Shoaib was declared the winner of the 2021-22 season and Prajapati claimed the top honours for the 2022-23 season.
On the occasion, OC’s long-serving secretary Madhu Jesrani was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was received by his daughter and OC board advisor Vaishali Jesrani due to the former’s health issues.
Cricketer of the Year 2021: Shoaib Khan.
Cricketer of the Year 2022: Kashyap Prajapati.
Season 2021-22: Winners: Premier Division: Oman Stallions, A Division: Zawawi Powertech, B Division: Douglas OHI, C Division: Ideal International, D Division: Ideal Technology, E Division: Israr Ghala, F Division: Earn Trust, U19: Oman Cricket Academy U19.
Individual awards: Premier Division: Best Batter: Shoaib Khan, Best Bowler: Khawar Ali, Best All-Rounder: Aamir Kaleem.
Season 2022-23: Winners: Premier Division: Muscat CT, A Division: Fagor FCC, B Division: Vanderlande, C Division: Khalsa United CT, D Division: Israr Ghala, E Division: Earn Trust, F Division: Skill Vision & NTS CT, G Division: Abeer Warriors, U19: Indian School Muscat.
Individual awards: Premier Division: Best Batter: Kashyap Prajapati, Best Bowler: Hemal Tandel, Best All-Rounder: Ayaan Khan.