Cricket’s panorama may increase to sudden horizons as early as subsequent month if a bilateral collection between Afghanistan and Zimbabwe goes forward within the Middle Eastern nation of Oman, the place the Test match format has by no means been performed earlier than.
The itinerary of two Tests and three Twenty20 internationals has but to be finalised and stays unsure as a result of COVID-19 journey restrictions.
However, the secluded Oman Cricket Academy (OCA) floor in Al Amerat – 15 km southeast of the capital Muscat – is on the prepared after assembly requirements set by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to host Tests having beforehand hosted limited-overs matches.
“ICC accreditation has put us in an elite club of Test cricket hosts and we are very proud to have reached that level,” Oman Cricket advised Reuters.
“Hosting Test matches and white-ball cricket on a regular basis will surely lead to more interest in the game of cricket in a football-crazy country.”
The Gulf state shouldn’t be a typical vacation spot for worldwide cricket, with its inhospitable desert and jagged, rocky mountains a far cry from the quaint backdrops that followers of the game are historically accustomed to seeing.
Afghanistan’s risky safety scenario, nevertheless, implies that regional neighbours are ceaselessly referred to as upon to stage ‘home’ matches on their behalf.
In the previous, Afghanistan has based mostly themselves out of grounds within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India however the affect of the COVID-19 pandemic on international journey has necessitated the addition of Oman to that listing.
Oman is relative newcomers to cricket’s international stage, with its solely look at a serious event coming on the 2016 T20 World Cup in India, the place it upset Ireland in its debut outing.
The potential to host high-profile contests now will probably be one other feather within the cap of the nation’s cricketing fraternity.
The sultanate would turn into the second non-Test taking part in nation to host the sport’s longest type after neighbouring UAE, which commonly accommodates Pakistan for home matches.