Oman need to have a better domestic set up and have to popularise the sport among the tiny tots and the young generation © Getty Images
Oman need to have a better domestic set up and have to popularise the sport among the tiny tots and the young generation © Getty Images

Cricket is not a very popular sport in the Gulf but the ICC is doing its best to make this happen. Only time will tell whether they will succeed in their endeavour or not. Oman, which featured in the recently-concluded T20 World Cup 2016 were a bit impressive with their bowling. They played three matches in the qualifiers in which they defeated a stronger team like Ireland in their first game itself. It was a squeaker as Oman chased down Ireland’s 154 with two wickets remaining and the same number of balls to go. Their second fixture against Netherlands at Dharamsala was abandoned without a ball being bowled, due to water clogging because of excessive rain. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: England vs West Indies, ICC World T20 2016, Final at Kolkata

Oman were thrashed by Bangladesh in their final match. Bangladesh, riding on Tamim Iqbal’s century posted a mammoth 180 runs. Oman got a revised target of 120 to chase from 12 overs as per the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method but they could only manage 65 and lost nine wickets in the process. A much better batting effort was required from the Omanis but more than that it was some special bowling by Bangladesh which led to the debacle. Bangladesh were ruthless with both their pace and spin. Shakib Al Hasan stood out among the bowlers taking a four-wicket haul from his allotted three overs. READ: Oman’s victory over Ireland in ICC World T20 2016 a triumph for cricket

Oman’s highest run-scorer in the tournament was Jatinder Singh with his 49 runs from the two games. Bilal Khan was economical though he went wicketless. Fast bowler Munis Ansari picked up three wickets which was the highest for Oman bowlers. If Oman repeats their performance of their match against Ireland on a consistent basis when they face more associate teams in the future it is the way forward for them. It will help them gain footing in the cricketing arena and earn them ODI status.

Oman should aim to become the best in the Middle East. At present, UAE is considered slightly better than them. Oman have played UAE twice in the past losing both the matches. UAE have ODI status as well. Oman have a tough journey ahead but they can certainly become a better team with practice, good planning and better execution of strategies.

They need to have a better domestic set up, rope in some good coaches in their cricket clubs but the most important thing is to popularise the sport among the masses and particularly among the tiny tots and young generation of the nation. Once this is achieved, Oman can get more talented cricketers 10 years down the line.

(Bhaskar Narayan is a reporter at CricketCountry and Criclife. He passionately follows the game and is a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar. His Twitter handle is @Cricopathy)