Nestled in the charming town of Al Amarat, just south of Muscat, Oman, lies the Oman Cricket Academy Ground, affectionately known as the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium. This cricketing haven is not just a field; it’s a testament to Oman’s commitment to the sport, providing a world-class platform for cricketing aspirations to take flight. Owned by the Oman Cricket Board, this ground has a rich history that showcases Oman’s passion for cricket.
A Vision Realized
The journey of the Oman Cricket Academy Ground began in July 2008 when Oman Cricket unveiled ambitious plans to construct an international-standard cricket facility in Al Amarat. With an initial estimated cost of 2 million Omani rials (approximately US$5.2 million), the land was generously donated by the Ministry of Sports Affairs, while corporate sponsorship played a pivotal role in funding the project. This vision took shape over the years, leading to the inauguration of the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium in October 2012. Ashraful Haque, the chief executive of the Asian Cricket Council, had the honor of inaugurating the ground.
A Hub for Cricketing Excellence
The Al Amerat Cricket Stadium wasted no time in making its presence felt in the cricketing world. Just two months after its inauguration, the ground hosted its first match, a club game that marked the beginning of a new era for Oman’s cricketing community.
In 2015, floodlights were installed, illuminating the path for night matches and extending the playing hours, creating a vibrant cricketing atmosphere. Plans for an indoor academy to complement the existing one at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex further underscored Oman’s commitment to nurturing cricketing talent.
The Al Amerat Cricket Stadium soon became an international cricketing destination. It hosted the 2019 ACC Western Region T20 tournament, setting the stage for matches that held the coveted Twenty20 International status. Notably, in a match between the Maldives and Bahrain in January 2019, the Maldivian bowler Ibrahim Hassan claimed the first-ever Twenty20 International five-wicket haul on this ground.
Ravija Sandaruwan of Kuwait etched his name in history with the first-ever Twenty20 International century on this ground during a match against Bahrain in the same month.
In October 2019, the stadium was the epicenter of a Pentangular T20 Series featuring ICC associate sides with ODI status, including Oman, Ireland, Nepal, and the Netherlands, along with Hong Kong. Oman’s dominant performance culminated in victory, including a memorable win over Nepal.
In November 2019, the first round of the Cricket World Cup Challenge League B was scheduled to be held in Hong Kong. However, due to instability in Hong Kong, all matches were relocated to this esteemed venue, emphasizing its reliability as an international cricketing hub.
The year 2020 saw the ground host the 2020 ACC Western Region T20 tournament, further cementing its status as a preferred venue for regional cricketing events.
A Thrilling Chapter: ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
The pinnacle of the Oman Cricket Academy Ground’s journey came in 2021 when it co-hosted the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup alongside the UAE. This prestigious event brought cricket’s global spotlight to Oman’s doorstep, showcasing its ability to host top-tier international matches.
In preparation for the tournament, the Al Amerat Turf 1 underwent significant upgrades, including new floodlights, pavilions, and a digital scoreboard. These enhancements aimed to provide a world-class experience to players and spectators alike. With a seating capacity of 4,000, including VIP and VVIP seating, as well as dedicated commentary boxes, the ground was primed for cricketing excellence.
A Bright Future Beckons
As the Oman Cricket Academy Ground continues to evolve, it remains a symbol of Oman’s cricketing dreams and aspirations. It’s a place where local talent rubs shoulders with international stars, where records are broken, and history is made. Whether you’re an aspiring cricketer, a devoted fan, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of this remarkable sport, the Oman Cricket Academy Ground stands as an embodiment of Oman’s passion for cricket and its dedication to the growth of the game on the global stage. It’s not just a cricket ground; it’s a field of dreams where the future of cricket takes flight.