Oman’s newest batting sensation creates history

Muscat, dec 31 – Oman’s domestic cricket scene saw the emergence of a new batting sensation and he has smashed his way into the history books.
The name is Issa Rahim al Balushi and he opens the batting for OCT Seeb. Issa blasted the highest individual score in Oman’s domestic cricket history when he struck 219 off 103 balls with 34 boundaries and three sixes in a 28-over game against OCT Amerat.
In the process, Issa powered OCT Seeb to the highest ever team score in Oman’s domestic cricket history as they piled up 427/2 in 28 overs.
The 27-year-old opener was over the moon and expressed his happiness when he spoke exclusively to Oman Daily Observer.
“It’s a dream come true for me to play a knock like this. People call me ‘Boom Boom’ in the local cricket scene. I had always dreamt of scoring a double hundred and it was very satisfying to play an innings where everything was going my way,’’ Issa stated.
Issa, who is working with Ernst & Young in the administration department, started playing cricket actively since 2007. The young lad has represented Oman in the under-15, under-17 and under-19 sections and has worked his way up doing the hard yards in the domestic cricket league.
“I have also scored three hundreds in domestic cricket before this knock. I have learnt a lot from my coach Iftikhar Shaji from Pakistan, who has been a source of guidance for me,’’ he added.
Issa had played a tournament in Bahrain in 2017 which helped him hone his skills.
“I got a contract to play this tournament in Bahrain and I was able to play with the likes of Sri Lanka’s Dilhara Fernando, Pakistan’s Imran Nazir and Rana Naveed. I played four matches and had a couple of decent scores,’’ he added.
Issa received a flurry of phone calls and congratulatory messages from friends and acquaintances as soon as news of his knock was out.
One among the many messages really warmed Issa’s heart as it was from his idol and Oman star Adnan Ilyas.
“Adnan Ilyas called me and congratulated me and said it is not easy to play a knock like that. It is a huge achievement and you have proved yourself today. He advised me to carry on playing my natural game,’’ Issa revealed.
Issa also took the opportunity to thank dad Mohammad al Balushi as he was the one who first spotted the talent he possessed.
“I used to play gully cricket and it was Mr Dad Mohammad al Balushi who felt I had the talent to play at a higher level. He took me to play a tournament in Thailand in 2006 and that was the first time I was playing with the hard ball. A big thanks to him for all the support,’’ Issa explained.
Issa thanked his boss at Ernst & Young Alkesh Joshi for the support he provided in his development as a cricketer.
As far as training schedule is concerned, Issa said he practices thrice a week. On Sundays, he trains from 6-8 pm with OCT Seeb in Bausher and on Tuesdays (6-8 pm) and Saturdays (7-9 am) he practices with his company at Amerat.
Issa looks upto India’s batting legend Sachin Tendulkar for inspiration and is also inspired by the exploits of current India ODI opener Rohit Sharma.
Cricket runs in Issa’s family as well as his brother Yousuf Abdulrahim al Balushi is also a professional cricketer who plays for OCT Seeb and Bank Muscat.