By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) Oman Cricket, which is expected to host the preliminary matches of the T20 World Cup, which serves as a qualifier for the main draw, has a task at hand as it looks to upgrade its facilities within three months after the Indian cricket board took the time to announce that it was not possible to host the mega-tournament on its land.
The original matches reportedly involve eight teams – Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Namibia, Oman and Papua New Guinea – which could be divided into two groups. Matches involving a group (with Oman in it) or even both groups may host Muscat’s Al Amerat Cricket Stadium, which will be handed over by Oman Cricket to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on October 1st.
“The estimated cost of the upgrade will be $ 2 million and they will be carried out by Oman Cricket. That (getting the T20 World Cup and playing in it) is beyond our dreams. We appear to be hosting at least six matches, ”Madman Jesrani, secretary of Oman Cricket, told IANS.
The ground is currently very basic with no racks and even the floodlights are not of a high standard.
“According to the ICC requirements, we must have four changing rooms. We only have two at the moment. We are building two more. Apart from that, we will have to upgrade the lighting to 2500 lux LED from 1100 lux, ”added Jesrani, who added that a TV tower for recording and a comment field will be set up on a scaffolding.
The association looks forward to accommodating 3,000 to 4,000 fans.
“At the moment there is no opportunity for the audience. We are looking to create a grandstand with an audience capacity of 2,000-3,000 fans. Apart from that, there will be hospitality boxes / boxes with a capacity of 1000, ”Jesrani added.
The ICC declined to disclose details of how many matches will be held in Oman and in the UAE, which are expected to hold the latter phases involving large teams.
“It will probably take another two weeks to take the ICC with the entire schedule. But as far as the preparation of venues goes, there are standard basic requirements that the ICC requires and Oman Cricket is aware of that. It has not yet been decided whether both groups in the initial phase will play their game in Oman, or only one group will play there, ”said an official who was aware of the development.
However, Oman Cricket says a lot depends on how the Covid-19 situation unfolds over the next three months.
The small emirate with a population of just over five million experienced over 2,000 positive cases each on Tuesday and Wednesday with a few deaths as well.
“The situation is not encouraging. We have a curfew from kl. 20 to kl. We also need to take government standards into account, ”Jesrani added.
kh / akm