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T20 World Cup: upgrading facilities, setting up spectator zone – Oman prepares for big league


The next three months will be busy for the Oman cricket officials. While the country co-hosts the United Arab Emirates with the T20 World Cup, the cricket body has a big task ahead of it.

And talk to Sportster Oanka cricket chief Pankaj Khimji made it clear on Tuesday from Muscat that this is indeed a big moment for the associate member state.

A delegation of BCCI and ICC officials is expected to reach Muscat this weekend to complete the qualifying stage, but Khimji is hopeful of winning most of the qualifying stage matches at the picturesque Oman Cricket Academy. to offer terrain.

Excerpts …

Oman hosts the T20 World Cup for the first time. What are your initial thoughts?

We are in ecstasy and are grateful to the BCCI for considering us co-hosts. We can not wait to receive the officials and put Oman on the cricket scene worldwide. We also play the qualifiers this time, so playing at home is a final crown for us. Can an associate member ever dream of hosting a World T20 and playing in it too! We have a dream run. It is a dream come true for all of us. What more can we ask for? We held a little pizza celebration, followed by a ceremony by the board members. There is so much to be done and achieved.

But it will also be a big challenge. What are the areas you want to tackle immediately?

We are upgrading the floodlights in the premises, and we are also developing our other infrastructure. Now, with COVID, we need four locker rooms, because the second bunch of teams that get into the ground will not have much time, so we need to have two more locker rooms. We need to make sure everyone is comfortable. But everything must be done, there are no obstacles.

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BCCI President Sourav Ganguly told this publication that the qualifying stage will be presented in Oman. However, the ICC says that the qualifying matches between Oman and the UAE will be distributed. What has been formally communicated to you so far?

It is left to negotiation. We expect BCCI and ICC officials to visit us this weekend to negotiate the final details. There we would therefore discuss whether we can host all 12 matches here and all this before we sign the contract. This weekend we will be sorting out all the things. We will try to get as many matches as possible in the qualifying stage.

Pankaj Khimji. – OMAN CRICKET

The tournament starts on October 17, so you have barely three months to prepare …

If we have to get everything right in the first week of October, we have to deliver the land by September. So there are only 12 weeks left, but that will not be a problem. As it stands now, we hope to get everything ready within ten weeks.

The Oman Cricket Academy grounds do not have a spectator facility. So this is an ICC meeting. What are the plans to ensure that some spectators watch the matches?

We will probably bring in about 3,000-5,000 seats for the spectators. That’s quite enough for this part of the world and we’ll have some guest tents. We will try to create a kind of local atmosphere there. It is a picturesque ground, so for everyone it will be a new experience. We will do everything possible to make this event memorable and that BCCI may be proud of him as host. Omani people are naturally hospitable, and we look forward to hosting the event. For Oman, it is a great highlight that we will be hosting a sporting event of this magnitude.

With so many teams visiting the country, how much challenge will it be to set up a bio-bubble?

The way we are currently going, by the end of August, Oman should vaccinate two thirds of its population – at least one shot. By September, both doses must be given to the majority of the population, and all members of the T20 World Cup committee – officials, volunteers and compatriots – will be vaccinated. We have shortlisted a big place where the teams and all the other stakeholders – the officials, the broadcasters, the media – will be under one bio-bubble. We will see to it that no one comes in and no one goes out. It will be a unit, where we can take up to 650 rooms. We will share the details as soon as we get a nod from the BCCI. But yes, bio-bubble will not be a problem at all.

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Oman plays the heats at home. How much will the home advantage help the team?

Being a fellow nation, the fact that you made it to the qualifying stage is a big moment. We are the only associate country in Asia that has advanced to the qualifying match, and we are playing against heavyweight teams. But before that, we beat Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea and Ireland, so we are confident. We will now play on our home field and there must be some kind of home advantage.



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