Armed with bats and a ball, a team of young women will be setting out to prove they can beat the men at their own game of cricket. Oman has announced a 14-member team for the inaugural GCC Women’s T20 Cricket Championship being held in the Sultanate this month. While cricket is already hugely popular among the male expatriate population, women have some way to go to catch up. However, this tournament might go some way to changing that. If all goes well, it could change the future of women’s cricket not just in Oman, but around the Gulf region.
“It’s a very big tournament,” said Vaishali Jesrani, the Oman team manger. “Being the inaugural women’s tournament of the Gulf region, it has an added significance in many aspects. It will contribute to the development of women’s cricket. So its success is vital for everyone.” In preparation, the girls have been playing against male teams to harden themselves up.
Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also sending teams for the first event of its kind to be organised in the region. Matches for the preliminary round will be played on December 15-18, with the champions decided on the Friday (December 19). Hoping to lead the Oman squad to victory will be captain Sunayna Devaiah. “We want to give our best in the tournament,” she said. “What else can be better preparation than playing against the best and tough boys teams?” Agility and speed is key to winning.
Tasked with bringing the best out of the players is coach Sajith Kumar and his assistant Desmond Berhardt. “We have a good blend of batswomen and bowlers. We also have five to six good all-rounders,” said the coach. All the matches will be played at Oman Cricket’s grass pitch at the Ministry of Sports Affairs complex in Amerat.