Oman cricket chief confident of national team earning promotion
MADIHA ASIF firstname.lastname@example.org
MUSCAT: Oman hosting the ICC Division 3 World Cricket League provides the team an excellent chance to get promoted to Division 2, said a top official at Oman Cricket, the nation’s governing body for the sport.
“Oman itself moved from Division 6 to Division 2 uninterrupted without failure in a matter of two and a half years. We lost our way a little bit in the last tournament we played but now we have got home advantage and all the prerequisites to make it back to Division 2,” said Pankaj Khimji, Director of Oman Cricket, while exclusively speaking to Times of Oman.
Oman will face five other teams in a round-robin competition from November 9 to 19 and will face off against Kenya in the opening game.
Besides Oman, the WCL Division 3 competition will feature the USA, Uganda, Singapore, Denmark, and Kenya. The two teams that finish at the top of the table will be promoted, while the ones that finish at the bottom will be relegated to a lower division.
Khimji added that he was looking forward to emerging victorious at the game on November 18 against Uganda just like they’d stood victorious against a match played on Renaissance Day.
“Incidentally, when we beat Namibia in Scotland to go and play in the T20 world qualifying stage in India, it was on July 23, our Renaissance Day,” he recalled.
“So, we are looking forward to making it happen again on November 18, where we would have made it to the top two positions.”
Talking about preparation, Khimji said that they had an extremely strenuous task cut out for the team, keeping in mind the various working hours of the players.
“You must understand that they work from 9am to 5pm or 7.30am to 3.30 or 4.30pm so we actually ask them to be at the gym or the ground at five in the morning, six days a week,” he revealed.
“They will then go home by 7.30, take a shower, go to work, show up, put in some work, and then most of them with permission from their respective corporates come back at some half past three to do some cricketing training and some field exercises, gym and swimming pool training.”
“But this time round, what you must appreciate is that being at an average age of 32 and 33 in a team is not as easy as being young professional cricketers in their late or mid-20s to deliver results,” added Khimji.
“So, what is important is to make sure they are at least conditioned and not injury prone. In this regard, we brought in an expert from South Africa who has worked with them over the last three weeks making sure that we mitigate the chances of injury due to the long duration of this tournament,” Khimji said.
He further added that there was no question about Oman finishing in the top two slots of the tournament.
“We are extremely gung-ho and positive in our mindset going into this tournament. I think our preparations and the build-up have been very positive and good with no hiccups as yet,” Khimji said.
“So, if all things are equal, there is nothing stopping the Oman team from getting the top spot or at least the number two spot.
“I am looking forward to it and I am very proud of my boys and I think my boys will not let us down.”