Dubai: Oman has become the second Gulf nation after the UAE to earn One Day International (ODI) status. On Thursday, they won their fourth successive game in ICC’s WCL Division Two in Windhoek, Namibia, to become one of the four nations to have earned the ODI status for the next two-and-a-half years.
Oman’s achievement can be beneficial for the two Gulf countries as they can swell the number of ODI match appearances through a potential UAE-Oman ODI series. In fact, UAE and Oman will be meeting each other in the upcoming Cricket World Cup League Two, due to start in July 2019, which will also be contested by Scotland, Nepal and the United States.
Oman will play 36 ODIs in the new League Two through to 2021.
Former Sri Lankan captain Duleep Mendis, who is the coach of the team, said: “This is something huge. You cannot ask anything bigger than this after all the hard work the boys have gone through in the last five to six years. They have come up the ladder and to get ODI status in Namibia is the biggest achievement we can get.”
Oman Cricket Board with their support staff had been working hard to transform the team into a formidable side. “One thing I can tell you, in the ODIs in the next three years, we will certainly make an impact,” said Mendis.
The Khimji family has been the huge supporters of cricket in Oman. Their cricket board is head by Kanak Khimji while Oman Cricket Director is Pankaj Khimji. Speaking to ESPNcricinfo in Namibia, Pankaj explained how his team kept growing over the years. “The most gratifying part of this 2016-2019 journey has been the journey itself,” he said. “It’s the step by step, that we kept on growing and building a team and the building of this family. There have been individuals who have moved on, the new individuals who have come in. We have come in with three new blooded players and they have made the difference,” he said.
Oman cricket’s growth began in 2000 when they became an affiliate member of the ICC in 2000. They gained associate status in 2014. In July 2015 through a win over Namibia in the 2015 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier, Oman gained Twenty20 International status and played in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India and played alongside Test playing nations.