For one week only, Oman centre-stage at T20 World Cup
MUSCAT, OCT 15: It's a far cry from Lord's, the MCG and Eden Gardens, but the modest Al Amerat ground, 15km to the south-east of the Omani capital of Muscat, will on Sunday briefly become the beating heart of international cricket as the T20 World Cup gets underway.
"How often does an Associate nation get to host a World Cup?" Pankaj Khimji, the chief executive of Oman Cricket told cricinfo.com.
"I'm told by Star Sports (the host broadcasters) that this might turn out to be the third-largest televised sporting event of all time, potentially reaching an audience of 3 to 3.5 billion people.
"Even if Oman gets a billion people watching the first six games, and showcases itself just to the Indian subcontinent, it's massive."
The grass pitches of the 3,000-seat Al Amerat site are a long way from the days when cricket was first played in the sultanate, often on waste ground by teams hastily assembled from visiting navy ships.
Oman are playing in the T20 World Cup for the second time after a 2016 debut saw them stun Ireland at spectacular Dharamsala. Even if only six first round games are staged in Oman, the stakes are high. -AFP