New milestones for Oman women’s cricket team
January 25, 2020 | 8:28 PM
by Pankaj Kumar Sharma / [email protected]

Muscat: Buoyed by the performance of their male counterparts of getting entry into this year’s World Cup in Australia, the Oman women’s cricket team members created new milestones and conquered new frontiers abroad.

With their indomitable spirit, a new-look team with seven to eight new faces performed exceedingly well against better-ranked teams in a QCA Women’s T20I triangular tournament in Doha.

In an exclusive interview with Times of Oman, Vaishali Jesrani, the Oman women’s cricket team captain said there were many firsts for this young team. “They played for the first time under the aegis of ICC, and it was a maiden appearance for the team in the T20I. It was also a debut appearance for all the players under the ICC umbrella, they qualified for the final and also brought home the runners-up trophy,” said Vaishali, brimming with confidence.

All the women’s cricket matches were telecast live on YouTube that also helped them gain many followers.

Though they had beaten their rivals Kuwait in the league matches to get a psychological boost before the final, they could not repeat their stellar performance in the final as Priyada Murali of Kuwait stood like a rock and steered her country to a seven-wicket victory over the Red team.

However, there were many positives for the Omani team as Priyanka Edna was declared the player of the tournament while her teammate Bhakti Shetty was declared bowler of the tournament.

The team captain said, “It was a great learning experience for the young team. Every match at the international level gives you a learning opportunity. We need to analyse our loopholes and plug the gap for better results in the future.

“Most of the matches were keenly contested with the win or loss being decided in the last over. The single-digit margin of victory itself suggests how tough the contest was.”

She praised the arrangements made by the Qatar Cricket Association and the support for her team during matches in Doha. She felt that she was playing in front of her home crowd.

Heaping praise on her coaches Sajith Kumar and Haider Ali, she said, “They worked hard with the team to improve the skills of players. The team physio Vijay did an excellent job with his cricketing drills and practice sessions to boost the fitness of girls, and they thanked Oman Cricket for believing in their abilities and giving them wholehearted support.”

When asked about the future of women’s cricket and bench strength, Vaishali said, “Today we are much better placed than we were a few years ago. The bench strength has increased as a new pool of talents has arrived. But football being a popular sport in this part of the world, we need to devote more time and money to cricket.”

“Though cricket demands larger space, we need to provide even a plastic bat to budding talents in schools so that we can nurture them for the future. Moreover, the gender barrier between boys and girls should be removed so that they get more chances of interaction and this will also help increase competition,” she added.

Satisfied with the performance of his girls, team coach Haider Ali said, “This is a talented bunch of cricketers who worked very hard during their 10-week training before leaving for Qatar. And finally, their hard work and perseverance have paid off. Our team performed very well against sides better than us on paper. The team has almost half a dozen new faces but they played like veterans on the field. They have learned to handle pressure situations but it is the win that matters and increases your confidence. Hope they will continue with their fighting spirit and winning momentum in the future.”

He commended stand-out performances of Vaishali, Priyanka, Sakshi, Bhakti, Fiza, Anshitha, and Physio Vijay for his support in keeping the team members in top gear.

“A team from Germany would be arriving soon for playing matches and we are geared up for the face-off,” said Haider. He also thanked Madhu Jesrani, Duleep Mendis and Oman Cricket for supporting the women’s team and giving them an opportunity to play in such prestigious tournaments.

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