On Sunday, the makeshift stands at the Al Amerat with a capacity of 3,000 was dominated with the cheers and applause of the Bangladeshis on the rare occasion of their team playing in this middle-eastern country
The Al Amerat Stadium located 15 kilometers south-east of the centre of the city of Muscat turned red and green as major part of the seats in the venue was occupied by the Bangladeshi expats in Oman.
The overjoyed Bangladeshi citizens took to the stands of the stadium to back their national pride – Bangladesh cricket team - against Scotland in the former’s campaign opening game of the T20 World Cup 2021 Sunday.
Bangladeshi nationals continue to form the major chunk of the expatriate population in the sultanate of Oman, with 680,242 workers counted in May this year, a fall of 3.6% compared to 682,702 in April 2017.
Population of Indian nationals in Oman stand second highest with 689,600, and Pakistanis at number three with 232,426.
On Sunday, the makeshift stands at the Al Amerat with a capacity of 3,000 was dominated with the cheers and applause of the Bangladeshis on the rare occasion of their team playing in this middle-eastern country.
Oman Cricket, an associate member of the International Cricket Council, was awarded the rights to host the Group B matches of the qualifiers after the hosts of this edition of the event - Board of Control for Cricket in India shifted the tournament to the middle-east due to Covid-19 concerns in India.
This opened the doors for the Bangladeshi expats in Oman to shout their heart out for their beloved cricket team, representing the country globally and earning respect and recognition.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a Bangladeshi expat settled in Muscat for the last 15 years and involved in construction business, is over the moon at being able to live the moment.
“I have come to the stadium with my family and friends. We live very far away from home [Bangladesh] and only follow Bangladesh cricket team on television or internet. This is an unreal experience for us, seeing the team play in front of us while we cheer for them. Bangladesh team had no reason to come to Oman and play cricket here till this T20 World Cup happened,” said an enthusiast Ibrahim to Dhaka Tribune Sunday.
Khalil, a construction worker, reached Oman with the vision of better earning in order to support his family.
Life is tough for Khalil and those in the sector, a majority of the earning needs to be sent home to the family.
Khalil is one among millions adding to the Bangladesh remittance and helping the country grow.
According to media reports earlier this month, remittance flow to Bangladesh fell to a 16-month low of $1.72bn in September as money transfers through informal channels made a comeback after a lull caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I do not earn enough to be honest. Life is hard but I did not want to miss the opportunity to come and see Bangladesh team play. Shakib al Hasan is my favorite player and I hope he will do well in this tournament,” said Khalil.
“We are yet to develop in T20, the other teams like Australia, India, West Indies are stronger than us. But I hope and pray Bangladesh will end with a respectable result,” said the Bangladeshi remittance soldier.
Bangladesh will play two more matches at Al Amerat Stadium facing co-hosts Oman Tuesday and then take on Papua New Guinea Thursday.
If Bangladesh finish in the top two of the group then they will travel to UAE for the main event – a country with yet another big Bangladeshi community.