MUSCAT. Things have fallen apart for the Cricket Cranes at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League Division III showpiece here in Oman. But that is the nature of sport - you cannot win them all. Even in defeat, Uganda’s easy-on-the-eye brand of cricket and raw talent of the players has continued to win over a hatful of admirers in the Arabian Peninsular.
The biggest fans of the Cricket Cranes since they stepped foot in Oman have been the billionaire Khimji Ramdas family that also takes credit for initiating and funding the game in the gulf since 1970.
From day one, the Khimji family has been looking out for Cricket Cranes like an elder brother would do to his sibling on the latter’s early days in high school.
Kanaksi Gokaldas Khimji, the chairman Oman Cricket, did actually take care of the bill for the team’s three-day early arrival and acclimatisation camp ahead of the Div. III showpiece.
“It is a humbling gesture from a multi-millionaire like Khimji,” Uganda’s team manager Jackson Kavuma said of the 82 year-old Kanaksi, who is openly referred to as the only Hindu-Indian Sheikh in the world.
“The humility of this Khimji family is awe-inspiring. They give so much to everyone that approaches them and they are willing to help our game develop because they believe we are talented but just financially handicapped,” added Kavuma soon after handing over a souvenir from Uganda Cricket Association (UCA).
During Uganda’s stay in the Sultanate of Oman, Pankaj, Kanaksi’s son, has been a mainstay around the Ugandan camp with one question. “Brothers, is everything okay? Is there anything you want me to help you with?” The answers from Team Uganda management have been ranging from; We are okay, thank you very much and we are fine now, but Pankaj has been quick to answer; “Please don’t mention it. Not at all.”
The Khmiji family who boast of a business empire that deals in anything and everything apart from textile clothing has opened it doors to UCA with hope of helping them in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oman Cricket that help in developing the game further in both nations.
“This family runs the game here and they are willing to support. But we must show desire to follow up and work with them. We need them,” added Kavuma.
During the visit to the Khimji Ramadas Group head offices, Kanaksi pampered the Ugandan delegation with gift hampers. “Insha Allah, we will help in whichever way we can. We are happy you’re grateful. Send greetings to your chairman Bashir Ansasiira. You are our true brothers,” said the philanthropic Kanaksi, who won the ICC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and employs over 5,000 people at the business empire which was already valued at $900m in 2015. UCA must now seize the opportunity with both hands because in the Khimji Family, they have found a partner whose zeal to see the game played better knows no bounds.