Shahzad Raza –
MUSCAT, JAN 4
Oman becoming a Test centre is a real gift of 2021 and certainly, an uplifting, mood-enhancing vaccine for cricket fraternity in the country, said Pankaj Khimji, a senior member of Oman Cricket’s Board of Directors.
“This is a phenomenal time for us. We had the lows of 2020 when there was little or no cricket and then we come to 2021 and we come out with a bang. We have received our first Test accreditation for Ground No 1 which is really a phenomenal, uplifting, mood-enhancing vaccine that we could have got for cricket in Oman,” he said reacting to the news that Oman has been accredited to host Test, ODI and T20I matches.
Pankaj, who is also considered Oman’s voice in the highest echelons of ICC and ACC, said becoming a Test centre is going to be a game-changer for cricket in Oman.
“To see Test cricket being played here in February between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe will probably be the finest moment for my father (Kanak Khimji) whose dream was to bring cricket to Oman. But did we actually dream of Test cricket coming to Oman? I think that was really a pipe dream. To realise a pipe dream is probably the greatest high and this is really a tribute to my father who is our inspiration and our leader in terms of cricket in Oman. To Kanak bhai this is certainly a super spirit-lifting development,” he added.
Pankaj said this was the right time to thank all those who had supported Oman Cricket in achieving greater glories.
“I must thank His Highness Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al Said for supporting this wholeheartedly, His Excellency Rashad al Hinai for making sure that we have all the permissions in place and of course every other member of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Royal Oman Police, and city administration who have really gone the whole nine yards in making this happen,” he added.
He also thanked OC administration, Board of Directors and all the teams in Oman for all the years of hard work that has gone into making this beautiful infrastructure.
“Of course, we pay our tributes to the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his contribution and magnanimity in making us realise our cricket dreams and put Oman on the real map of Test cricket now. We also thank His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik al Said, Patron of Oman Cricket. I have no words to explain the contribution that he has made over the past twenty-five years to making Oman one of the most renowned Associate cricket nations in the world.”
Pankaj said OC still had a little bit of ground to cover before the dream is fully realised.
“I am sure things will be put in place and the spade work done well in time to be able to host Test matches in Oman,” he concluded.
Shahzad Raza –