History of cricket
Oman Cricket was formed in 1979 with its first Patron-in-Chief Late H.H. Sayyid Abbas Bin Faisal and Late Mr. Kanaksi G Khimji as its founding members and first President respectively.
The game was brought to the Sultanate of Oman in seventies by expatriates and received Royal patronage from the early days. Over the past many decades, Oman Cricket has emerged as an example for Associate nations as the game has developed by leaps and bounds, on and off the pitch.
His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq is the current Patron-in-Chief and H.E. Pankaj Khimji is the Oman Cricket President.
From the dusty grounds in the eighties, Oman Cricket now boasts of a picturesque Test-approved venue at the Oman Cricket Academy. The venue has two floodlit lush green grounds, and the main ground even hosted the opening match and inaugural ceremony of the ICC T20 World Cup in 2021.
Associate member since 2014
Oman became an Affiliate member of the ICC in 2000 and was made an ICC Associate member in 2014.
Oman Cricket was recognised as an independent sports association under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth in 2006. The governing body of the game in the Sultanate of Oman has an elected board, chaired by H.E. Pankaj Khimji.
Oman national men’s team, coached by former Sri Lankan Test captain Duleep Mendis, gained Twenty20 International status in 2015, when they defeated Namibia in a tightly contested match at the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015 to finish among the top six and qualify for their maiden appearance in ICC World Twenty20 in 2016, which was hosted in India.
Since then, Oman have taken giant strides and have qualified for two back-to-back ICC T20 World Cups in 2016 and 2021.
During the team’s maiden appearance in the 2016 T20I World Cup, the men in Red created one of the biggest upsets when they defeated Ireland in Dharamsala. The victory sent a message that Oman’s qualification journey was no fluke and they used it as a springboard to secure one-day international (ODI) status in 2019.
On 24 April 2019, Oman achieved their ODI status for the first time after they beat tournament hosts Namibia by four wickets in 2019 ICC World Cricket League Division Two.
Oman entered the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier in the UAE as one of the group favourites. Only a last-day slip-up in the group stage to Jersey denied them an automatic berth in the T20 World Cup - that went to Ireland, who finished with the same 4-2 record as Oman but with a superior net run rate.
Oman then lost to Namibia in their opening playoff match before finally clinching a spot in the T20 World Cup in a tense second-chance eliminator against Hong Kong.
Oman qualified for the ICC ODI World Cup Qualifier in 2023, the final tournament for a place in the 2023 ICC World Cup in India.
During the seven-nation ICC World Cricket League Division Two, Oman finished second behind Scotland with 44 points from 36 matches.
Oman have previously featured in two ICC World Cup Qualifiers in 2005 and 2009.
In 2005, Oman became the first affiliate member of the ICC to compete in the ICC Trophy. Oman finished ninth out of the 12 teams to earn a place in ICC World Cricket League Division Two in 2007.
At the Division Two tournament in Namibia, Oman reached the final to qualify for the ICC World Cup Qualifier in 2009.
In 2015, the team made its T20 International debut in the fifth-place play-off match against Afghanistan, and later in the year played bilateral T20 International series against Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and United Arab Emirates.
Development and Spread of the game
Under the able leadership of its president H.E. Pankaj Khimji, who is also the Asian Cricket Council vice-president and an ICC Director, Oman Cricket’s expansion plans include development of a third turf ground and world-class accommodation at the Oman Cricket Academy. The academy already has a state-of-the-art indoor practice facilities and a gym.
The governing body has launched a pilot project to involve local schools with the game of cricket and has a robust domestic league structure where semi-professional players ply their trade. Oman Cricket has also put a lot of focus on grassroots development and women’s cricket and have leagues for women and junior cricketers.
As Oman is geographically a vast country, Oman Cricket has appointed working committees to develop the game in the major cities like Salalah and Sohar.