Oman is all set to host its first major international tournament starting on November 9 and the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 3 championship presents it an excellent opportunity to put its top-class cricket infrastructure in Amerat to real test.
The six-nation competition will be contested by Oman, Kenya, Singapore, USA, Uganda and Denmark at Oman Cricket’s (OC’s) two beautiful floodlit green grounds. Top two teams from this single league championship will be promoted to WCL Division 2.
The 11-day tournament, scheduled to end on November 19, will see Oman taking on Kenya on OC ground 1 while Uganda playing Denmark on OC ground 2 as the opening games on November 9.
Playing its first international competition at home, Oman has been preparing hard and after weeks of training the team is raring to go.
“We are fully prepared for WCL 3. We commenced our training a few weeks ago as we are in the middle of our domestic season. Our team trainer Evert Laubscher (from South Africa) has been working on our players fitness and Ruwan Kalpage has been focusing on fielding and spin bowling,” said Duleep Mendis, Oman head coach.Talking about the team composition, Mendis said: “We have a well-balanced side with good seamers, off spin, leg spin and left-arm spin in the final eleven backed up by a good batting line-up. Fielding is something we concentrate a lot and keep improving.”
When asked if he agreed with the perception that Oman was going to start as favourite, the coach replied: “I am not quite sure whether we are the favourites but it doesn’t matter to us because we have been underdogs in many tournaments and ended up as the champions.”
Mendis, though, agreed that Oman, for the first time, had the benefit of playing in home conditions.
“Naturally our boys are quite used to playing on home surfaces and it will help us in terms of weather, light, knowledge of local conditions and home crowd support,” he added.
However, the former Sri Lankan great refused to single out a team as the toughest opponent in the competition.
“Nowadays all the teams have improved a lot and we have to take all games seriously. Therefore, we are targeting all of them,” he concluded.
Oman Cricket has made elaborate arrangements for fans and guests to make this a great experience for them
“We know weather can be hot anytime in Oman so we are going to install tents on the grounds for the general public and offer proper seating arrangement,” said Madhu Jesrani, Secretary, Oman Cricket.
“Watching cricket is great fun which is incomplete without good food so there will be food stalls offering popular food throughout the tournament. There will be special lunch facility for the teams too,” he added.
Teams will start arriving in Oman on November 7 and have their net practice the next day before the matches start on November 9.
ICC WCL Division 3 schedule
Friday, Nov. 9: Oman vs Kenya (OC ground 1), Uganda vs Denmark (OC ground 2).
Nov. 10: USA vs Uganda (OC ground 1), Oman vs Singapore (OC ground 2).
Nov. 11: Reserve day.
Nov. 12: USA vs Kenya (OC ground 1), Denmark vs Singapore (OC ground 2).
Nov. 13: Oman vs Denmark (OC ground 1), Uganda vs Kenya (OC ground 2).
Nov. 14: Reserve day
Nov. 15: Singapore vs Uganda (OC ground 1), Denmark vs USA (OC ground 2).
Nov. 16: Oman vs USA (OC ground 1), Kenya vs Singapore (OC ground 2).
Nov. 17: Reserve day.
Nov. 18: Kenya vs Denmark (OC ground 1), Oman vs Uganda (OC ground 2).
Nov. 19: Singapore vs USA.
Nov. 20: Reserve day.