Oman Cricket to hold MRI-ball T10 Stassen Tea Lounge Challenge Trophy in April

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Promoting the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) philosophy of popularising the game at every level in the country, Oman Cricket (OC) will be organizing a colourful Stassen Tea Lounge T10 Softball Cricket Tournament that will not only promise exciting matches but fun for the families too.

This was announced at a press conference attended by senior OC officials Kiran Asher, Duleep Mendis, Dad Mohammed Al Balushi, Vaishali Jesrani, Iqbal Ariwala and Srinith De Silva, CEO of Aitken Spence Resorts (Middle East), which manages Oman Hotels’ five properties in the country. Stassen Tea Lounge that offers 32 varieties of this popular Sri Lankan tea, is a well-known place for tea lovers in town.

Addressing the media, Mendis said the tournament, to be titled ‘Stassen Tea Lounge T10 Challenge Trophy’ was an ICC initiative which wanted such tournaments to be held all over the world to draw more people towards the game.

“ICC wants cricket to be played in every corner of the country like football and that’s why we thought of orgaising this softball cricket tournament which will be played with MRI ball. When a softball tournament is organized by OC on grassy grounds and astro turf and turf pitches under lights, it will be special. Some players will get the chance to experience a real cricket atmosphere for the first time and will want more of the same. That is why OC would like to make this an annual event,” he added.

Starting on April 6, the tournament will have separate competitions for both men and women teams with as many as 64 teams expected for the men’s event. The men’s matches will be played on Fridays at Muscat Municipality grounds in Al Amerat before moving to nearby Ministry of Sports grassy grounds for the Super Eight round. The semifinals and the final will be played under floodlights on April 27 and 28 respectively. The women’s games will he held on Saturdays.

Explaining the details, Mendis said the winner will walk away with a cash prize of OMR 500 along with medals and a trophy while the runner-up will receive OMR 250 plus medals and a trophy. OC will also award OMR 100 to the Player of the Tournament and a trophy to the Player of the Final.

Kiran Asher, OC Treasurer and senior board member, said the event was an attempt by Oman Cricket to popularize the game at the lowest level possible as part of ICC’s development plan.

“This will be more of a family affair that is designed to promote cricket in an atmosphere where every member of the family can have fun. Anyone who has not played on a turf pitch under the floodlights because he has a fear of the hard ball can now experience and enjoy our cricket facilities playing in this softball tournament,” he added.

Announcing his company’s support for the tournament, Srinith said they have been Oman Cricket’s partners for quite some time and had enjoyed the association.

“We are honoured and privileged to be part of Oman Cricket’s initiative and we hope to continue our support in future. It has been our endeavor to support cricket and every effort to promote tourism in Oman,” added Srinith.

Expressing her delight at yet another opportunity for women to participate in a cricket tournament, Vaishali thanked Oman Cricket for taking the initiative.

“It’s a great step by Oman Cricket and every female player would welcome such initiatives. This tournament is a platform for everyone to not only play cricket but enjoy the festive atmosphere in which it is going to be played.

Oman Cricket has advised those willing to participate in the tournament to collect the registration forms from its head office in Ruwi and submit along with a list of 15 players before March 13, which is the last date to do so. All the teams are required to be in one colour (or white) kits. Premier and A Division players are not allowed to participate in this tournament.

“There will be 64 teams playing in eight groups of eight teams each on a knockout basis, followed by the Super Eight stage leading to the semifinals and the final. The rules and regulations will be explained to the teams on March 15 during a meeting at Al Falaj Hotel at 7 pm,” explained Iqbal.