ICC impressed with Oman's progress
Officials from the ICC are impressed with the development of cricket in Oman, following a two-day inspection of the facilities in the Arab country. Tim Anderson, the ICC's global development manager, said Oman's application for Associate status will come up for discussion during the ICC's Annual General Meeting in Melbourne in June.
"This (inspection) has been a terrific experience for us. We not only had an opportunity to analyse the growth but we also got a chance to witness the progress that this country is making. Overall, we are very impressed with everything that is happening at the moment," Anderson was quoted in the Times of Oman.
"The Annual General Meeting in Melbourne in June will be crucial. They will decide about Oman's status, based on our report. I don't want to disclose anything but as I said, Oman is doing a tremendous job and the inspection was very positive."
Oman, an Affiliate member, had applied for Associate status last year. Anderson and his team, including Neil Speight, chairman of ICC Associate and Affiliate Members and Imran Khawja, ICC Associate member director, inspected cricket grounds in Al Amerat and a training facility in Barka. They will submit their report to the ICC Development Committee which is scheduled to meet in May.
"That ground (Al Amerat) is just marvelous. I think they did a terrific job but they can have two or three grounds more with an indoor centre for cricket and I think that will create a major foundation for cricket here," Anderson said.
Anderson, who captained Australia in the 1998 Under-19 World Cup, said Oman should first aim to qualify for the World T20 as the shortest format gives upcoming teams the best chance to participate in a world event.
"There are lots of opportunities for our members to qualify and I am really excited about how it is going to turn out in Bangladesh this month," he said. "Today, T20 has brought more people into this sport and I must say that this is the best format for Oman to make more progress in."
Oman's neighbours, UAE, have qualified for the upcoming World T20 and 50-over World Cup in 2015. Recently, Qatar hosted a women's T20 tri-series featuring Pakistan, South Africa and Ireland.