MUSCAT: With the game of cricket continuing to put Oman firmly on the global sporting map, Sultanate’s women’s cricket team embarks on a tour of Malaysia today (December 25) for a three-match bilateral series that mirrors the game’s growth in the two countries.
The series bears the historic fact that Oman eves will be playing outside the Gulf region for the first time, exactly in line with the broad-based vision of International Cricket Council (ICC) that espouses worldwide growth for women’s cricket.
Women’s cricket in the country has come a long way in the last five years and as many as eight full-fledged teams are taking part in a proper league tournament organised annually by Oman Cricket (OC) on grassy grounds and turf pitches. The game’s development is taking place steadily as envisioned by Oman Cricket and the women’s national team is beginning to mature into a fighting unit under the guidance of specialised coaches and trainers provided by OC.
“We have a good squad of promising young players who have been training together for the last couple of years. This series (against Malaysia) is going to be a great learning experience for them as it will expose them to different playing conditions,” said Vaishali Jesrani, team manager and OC coordinator for women’s cricket.
Talking about the series, she said it was a great opportunity for the team given by Oman Cricket and will go a long way in developing not only the team but women’s cricket in the country.
She said the team was expecting an exciting contest and spinners could hold the key to its outcome.
“We are expecting the batting friendly wickets at Kinrara Oval to support spin as well. Our team is a nice blend of good batswomen and bowlers. We have some good spinners in our team and will be expecting them to do well in favourable conditions over there,” explained Vaishali, who champions the cause of seeing Oman team as a major force in the region.
She said it was going to be an important series for both countries looking to make their presence felt in the international arena.
“Our main goal in Malaysia will be to make a very good impact by playing good cricket. The result will hopefully be favourable. However, it is more important for us to give our girls more international exposure, specially in different playing conditions, on different kinds of batting surfaces,” added the former Oman captain.
Vaishali said she was extremely pleased to see the game developing well in Suhar and the current team was a combination of budding cricketers and mature ladies from both the capital and Sohar regions.
“It is also heartening to note that some mature women players have also joined the ranks, making great personal sacrifices under the circumstances, to strengthen Oman team,” she added.
Malaysia had recently participated in ICC Asia qualifiers and now will be facing Oman in three T20 games.
“In the absence of a GCC championship this year, tour of Malaysia presents a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against quality opposition. Malaysia, which had recently participated in ICC Asia qualifiers, is a decent side with some experience players. We are looking forward to a great series and will try our best to give a good account of our skills and ability,” said Vaishali.
Vaishali was all praises for the team’s coaching and training staff and said coach Sajith Kumar, and Nilesh Parmer and Haider as well as the team physio Anitha Varadharajan, had worked hard on developing players’ skills. She thanked all schools, parents as well as the supporting families in helping the girls devote so much time to their game’s development.
“I must thank Oman Cricket once again for its support to women’s cricket and such series against international sides like Malaysia in foreign conditions will not only help the team but are sure to attract more girls to the game,” she added.
Oman will be playing its first match on December 27, followed by the other two games on December 28 and 29 at Kinrara Oval ground at Bandar Kinrara near Kuala Lumpur.
Oman Women’s Squad
Anu Amal (captain), Saya Channa (vice-captain), Fiza Javed, Priyanka Mendonsa, Nayan Anil, Merita Pinto, Sakshi Shetty, Akshara Srinivasan, Trupti Pawde, Kashish Jayawant, Shajina Rajesh, Amanda D’Costa, Shreya Dhuri and Jayadhanyha Gunasekar.
Manager: Vaishali Jesrani Coach: Sajith Kumar Physio: Anitha Varadharajan
Reserves: Suhaani Dadhwal, Bhavya Shetty, Geetha Jagadish, Shraddha Nabira and Vanshika Awasthi.