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Oman Cricket Association

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Mumbai Invited By Oman Cricket Association For Limited-Overs Series

Mumbai, Ranji Trophy giants have been invited by the Oman Cricket Association to play six games (three T20s and three One-days) in Muscat ahead of the 2021 T20 World Cup. The invitation has been sent out by Oman’s Chief Development Officer, Duleep Mendis.

Duleep Mendis has written a letter to the Mumbai Cricket Association, inviting them over to Muscat to give proper game time to Oman before they play the T20 World Cup qualifiers.

The picturesque Oman Cricket Academy ground. - OMAN CRICKET
The picturesque Oman Cricket Academy ground. – OMAN CRICKET

Mumbai Cricket Association Likely To Send A Team To Muscat

Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is likely to send a team to Muscat later this month for an exposure trip that is being initiated by Oman Cricket.

“On behalf of Oman Cricket, we would like to invite the Mumbai Cricket team to play matches against Oman’s national cricket team.

“As we understand that both teams are currently preparing for the upcoming season, it will be an excellent opportunity for the players to get some quality practice just before the commencement of the season,” states the letter which was written by Mendis, which is in possession of ANI.

Mumbai Vijay Hazare Trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Mumbai Vijay Hazare Trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Oman has qualified for the T20 World Cup and is also set to host six first-round games of the marquee event, which was shifted from India due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The domestic heavyweights last season won the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the national one-day championship, after its poor show in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Mumbai Cricket Association Likely To Accept Oman’s Invitation

The sources within the MCA said that the details of the tour to Oman are still being worked out. It is highly likely that MCA will accept this invitation.

“We have been invited for the tour between August 19-September 3. The details of the tour to Oman are still being worked out,” the source pointed.

As per the plan sent out by Oman Cricket, the Mumbai team will be departing for Muscat on August 19 and then they will quarantine themselves on August 20.

From August 21, Mumbai will be allowed to train. The three T20s will be played on August 22, 24, and 26. After this, Oman and Mumbai will shift their focus to 50-over cricket. The three Onedays will be played on August 29, 31, and September 2. The team will then be heading home on September 3.

T20 World Cup: Oman invites Vijay Hazare champion Mumbai to play T20s ahead of T20 WC qualifiers
T20 World Cup: Oman invites Vijay Hazare champion Mumbai to play T20s ahead of T20 WC qualifiers

It is understood that MCA secretary Sanjay Naik, after receiving a formal invitation letter from Oman Cricket on Friday, is set to deliberate the proposal with other office-bearers, coach Amol Muzumdar and chief selector Salil Ankola before taking a call later this week.

With almost a dozen top Mumbai cricketers being involved either in England or for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) preparation, if MCA decides to accept the proposal, it will have to select a second-string outfit.

BCCI is likely to allot six games of the first round of the forthcoming 2021 Twenty20 World Cup to Muscat, Oman. The BCCI is the host of the global tournament, and the allocation of games is at its discretion. In the meeting in Delhi, it is learned, the BCCI discussed the viability of holding matches in Oman.

With Oman having qualified for the tournament, their team is clubbed with Bangladesh, Scotland, and Papua New Guinea in Group B of the first round. Six league matches of that group could take place in Muscat. Only one venue, Oman Cricket Academy Ground, is being considered for the tournament.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
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T20I World Cup Set To Be Shifted To The UAE And Oman As BCCI Internally Intimidated ICC: Reports

T20I World Cup in October-November of 2021 is set to be shifted to the UAE and Oman with the BCCI having internally intimated the ICC to go ahead with its preparation due to a tricky Covid-19 situation in India.

While the UAE was always the first backup option, Oman’s capital Muscat has been added as the fourth venue, apart from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, for the marquee tournament that will start in the last week of October.

T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)
T20I World Cup trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

T20I World Cup Set To Move Out Of India: ICC Informed Internally

ICC had earlier reportedly put UAE as the venue for this year’s T20I World Cup on standby, seeing India witnessed an unprecedented Covid-19 surge. The T20I World Cup was supposed to happen last year in Australia but was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide. The second wave of the virus, however, is causing utter chaos in India, with the country reporting over 3,50,000 cases on a daily basis.

“Yes, the BCCI, during the ICC board meeting, has formally asked for a four-week window to take a final call but, internally, they have said that they would like to keep the hosting rights and wouldn’t mind the tournament being held in UAE and Oman,” a senior board official, privy to ICC board developments, told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

He said that Muscat has been zeroed in specifically for the preliminary rounds of the 16-team competition, which will also allow the three UAE grounds to get sufficient time to freshen up after 31 IPL games.

“If IPL finishes by October 10, then the UAE leg of World T20 can start off in November which would give three weeks’ time to the pitches to be spruced up for the global event. In the meanwhile, the first week can be held in Oman,” he said.T20I World Cup Set To Be Shifted To The UAE And Oman As BCCI Internally Intimidated ICC: Reports 1

Sourav Ganguly (BCCI president), Manu Sawhney (ICC chief executive) and Jay Shah (BCCI secretary) pose with the T20 World Cup International Cricket Council
Sourav Ganguly (BCCI president), Manu Sawhney (ICC chief executive), and Jay Shah (BCCI secretary) pose with the T20I World Cup International Cricket Council

A majority of the ICC board members believe that India is trying to bide time as they take stock of the situation at a time when it is very difficult to predict how things pan out in October-November.

“If you think about it practically, India is now reporting around 120,000 plus cases which are close to one-third of what was being reported at the end of April and start of this month. But sitting on June 28, if you say “yes” to holding the World T20 in India, how can you predict the health situation in October if there is a third wave,” the seasoned official asked.

The second question is if the BCCI is wary of resuming the eight-team IPL in September in India, how can it hold a 16-team event in the country within a month’s time.

“Look, everyone including BCCI brass knows that monsoon is not a good enough reason and it is Covid-19, with almost 2500 crore revenue riding on the tournament.”

“In a 16-team event, if there is one team that gets affected in bubble with multiple cases, it won’t be like IPL. For weaker national teams, you won’t get ready replacements outside 14 or 15 men. There are teething issues,” an official of an associate nation, which is a part of the tournament, said.

India was confirmed as the host for ICC T20I World Cup 2021. On the other hand, Australia will host the marquee event in 2022. The T20I World Cup which was scheduled to be held in Australia from October 18, 2020, was postponed in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making way for the cash-rich IPL 2020 in the United Arab Emirates. The T20 World Cup in 2021 will be the seventh edition of the tournament and the first since 2016.

Overseas Players Would Be Happy To Play Remainder IPL 2021 And T20 World Cup In The UAE

Another question doing the rounds is how many overseas players would like to risk coming to India for the tournament if the situation doesn’t improve drastically.

“They would certainly come and play the IPL in the UAE and would be more than happy to play the T20 World Cup over there. But one can be rest assured that there would apprehensions with regards to health safety with players’ families and their boards and the local cricket association would give them an update on health threat perceptions. It would be easier said than done,” the official said.

The Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) ground in Al Amerat. - OMAN CRICKET
The Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) ground in Al Amerat. – OMAN CRICKET

While both ICC and BCCI mull over Muscat as their second venue for the T20I World Cup, Oman Cricket Association has expressed interest in hosting the event “if given an opportunity”. ICC has given BCCI time till June 28 on whether the event can be held in India or will have to be shifted to UAE.

There is a chance Oman may stage the T20I World Cup qualifiers if the tournament is moved to UAE. However, even if the tournament is shifted out of the country, India will retain the hosting rights.