Sayyid Haitham inaugurates Oman Cricket Academy in Amerat
H H Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture, inaugurated the state-of-the-art Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) in Amerat on Monday. H E Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed bin Said al Mardhouf al Saadi, Minister of Sports Affairs was also present on the occasion.
The inauguration of the academy coincides with the 48th National Day celebrations.
Dave Richardson, ICC chief executive officer also attended the inauguration ceremony.
It was attended by ministers, high-ranking government officials, diplomats, leading figures from the private sector, top management of Oman Cricket and members of the cricket fraternity in Oman.
Addressing the gathering, Pankaj Khimji, senior board member, Oman Cricket (OC), spoke about the latest cricket developments which was followed by a video presentation showcasing Oman’s achievements in world cricket.
Thanking His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said for his continued support to the game, Pankaj said Oman has come a long way in the last 15 years and currently ranks 16th among 104 ICC members. He stressed on Oman Cricket’s endeavour to make the national team one of the best cricket teams in the world.
Pankaj said that Oman Cricket aimed at taking the game to the grassroots level and schools were the best place to achieve that goal. “Our ultimate goal is to introduce the sport in Omani schools. We have signed an MoU with the Ministry of Education to include cricket in the schools’ curriculum.”
Richardson said cricket’s aim is to inspire and empower communities to attract more people to the game.
Praising Oman for making headlines at international events, Richardson said, “Oman Cricket has made progress in leaps and bounds and ICC aims to support it in taking the game forward and strengthening its infrastructure.”
Accompanied by H E Saadi, ICC CEO, the guests and Kanak Khimji, Oman Cricket chairman, Sayyid Haitham unveiled the OCA plaque amid applause, declaring the iconic cricket facility officially open and available for some exciting games and events to happen in the times to come.
The guests were then taken around the academy building for a view of the facilities on offer where they also met the men’s and women’s national teams undergoing training and net practice.
The guests were also taken to the balcony for a view of the grounds followed by a presentation of special mementos.
Situated on the edges of the two floodlit cricket grounds in Amerat’s picturesque setting, OCA offers world-class facilities for training, net practice and coaching.
The academy building also has a gym, meeting rooms, a restaurant, a prayer room, players’ dressing rooms and a VIP sitting area.
The indoor net practice arena, constructed by Gabba Nets of Australia, consists of two fast pitches, two spin pitches and three other pitches with lights and air-conditioning and dedicated dressing room facilities.
With Oman attracting tourists from across the world every year, OCA will go a long way in promoting Muscat as the ultimate cricket training hub in the region.
The Oman Cricket turf ground 1 is equipped with floodlights, digital scoreboard, as many as ten turf pitches and high-quality grass which is watered by OCA’s own reverse osmosis plant.
The OC ground 2 offers similar facilities in addition to five astro-turf and five turf pitches with floodlights for fielding drills. The nets facility is constructed by Gabba Nets of Australia.
OCA is also equipped to offer teams and players a number of net bowlers and bowling machines to help them prepare for different playing conditions.