Muscat: Oman’s excellent cricket facilities, its great culture, friendly people and amazing hospitality have all contributed to help English players from Lancashire and Nottinghamshire counties enjoy their tour and look forward to coming back in future.
With two lush green grass grounds having floodlight facilities and different types of pitches to play on, English players and officials believe they chose the right country to develop their game in their off season.
Apart from cricket, the two teams are enjoying all the other elements of being in Oman that make this Gulf country irresistible and unforgettable for the visitors.
Gary Yates, Director of Academy, Lancashire, is clearly impressed.
“We have had an excellent trip so far. We are enjoying the hospitality of the people of Oman and Oman Cricket who have made us feel very welcome here. They have pulled out all the stops to make this a fruitful tour for us,” he said.
Talking about cricket facilities, the Lancashire coach said Oman had excellent grounds in Amerat with first class practice and match facilities.
“We are having a great time playing over here and enjoying the lovely weather too. We have enjoyed the cricket so far,” he added.
Commenting on the level of opposition they had faced in Oman, Gary said they had played a 50-over game against Oman Cricket’s National Youth Development Team (NYDT) and were impressed by their skills.
“NYDT has a long way to go but we were impressed by the skills of some of their players. We are going to face more local teams and are expecting excellent cricket against the Best of Premier Division XI in our next T20 game,” he said.
He said his players were certainly going to leave Oman with a lot of pleasant memories having experienced its culture, weather, different playing conditions and different types of wickets.
“The facility over here is second to none and I am sure some of our young players would have learnt a lot playing in these conditions which are so different from what we have back in England. This may certainly encourage more counties to come and spend their pre-season preparation here in Oman,” Gary added.
Senior Lancashire pro Jordan Clarke, who is a quality paceman, said Oman’s spin-friendly pitches could contribute to improving batting skills against spinners.
“The wicket here generally breaks up a little, gets a little bit slower and helps reverse swing. So apart from helping the batsmen to work on their game against spin, it’s good for the bowlers to practice reverse swing,” he explained.
Matt Wood, Academy Director and one of the coaches with the Nottinghamshire team visiting Oman, was all praise for the green pitches and lovely weather that seemed to welcome them to cricket every day.
“This has been a great experience for our young players who have got an excellent opportunity to play outside UK at this time of the year. I am sure they are enjoying experiencing warmer conditions and playing on different types of pitches,” he said.
Matt was obviously impressed by the picturesque Amerat grounds and said his boys were going to be better players after the Oman tour.
“Wickets here have spun and we have also played day-night games. Getting an opportunity to play day-night games at a great stadium is an wonderful experi-ence for our young players, some of whom experienced this (day-night game) for the first time. Because the wickets over here are a little bit flatter compared to those in England, bowlers were having to try different ways to get the batsmen out without too much assistance from the pitch. From the bowling perspective, that’s a great learning experience and makes you a better player,” explained Matt.
“With a cricket facility like this I am sure young players in Oman are going to get better very soon,” he added.
The Nottinghamshire coach was all praise for the people of Oman and their hospitality.
“The people over here are very friendly and we have been really looked after well by Oman Cricket. We have had the opportunity to visit some places here and have enjoyed those experiences. We were made to feel very welcome and every question that we asked was answered. We were supported in a great way and coming to Oman has been a great experience,” he said.