Excellent opportunity to test ourselves: Mendis
Oman Cricket head coach Duleep Mendis believes that the sultanate's participation in the eight-nation ACC Emerging Teams’ Asia Cup 2018 will be an excellent opportunity for his boys to play against some of the top-ranked teams.
An upbeat Oman squad, which recently won the ICC World Cricket League Division Three at home, landed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday to participate in the tournament, which is being held simultaneously in Pakistan and Sri Lanka from December 6 to 15.
Oman is placed in Group A along with India, Afghanistan and hosts Sri Lanka while Group B comprises hosts Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and UAE.
While the five Test-playing nations - will be sending 11 U23 players along with four senior players, Oman, UAE and Hong Kong will field their full-strength sides.
The tournament begins on December 6 with Pakistan taking on Hong Kong and Bangladesh facing the UAE.
Oman begins its campaign against Sri Lanka in Colombo on December 7 with India taking on Afghanistan. The semifinals and the final will be played in Colombo.
In his comments ahead of the team's departure, Mendis said, “We are in a good shape and the team is in high spirits after the title victory in WCL 3 at home.
“However, the Emerging Asia Cup is a new tournament and we are going to be up against quality sides. My boys have the ability to make an impact there.”
On the pressure of playing against top teams like India, Mendis said, “Oman had been waiting for the opportunity to play against superior sides.
“We are not under pressure as we have nothing to lose. In fact, we have a lot to gain from this tournament. We wanted to play against stronger teams and this competition provides us an excellent opportunity to test ourselves against quality opposition.”
Oman has welcomed experienced Ajay Lalcheta into the team after the allrounder recovered from his injury. Also making into the team is youngster Wasim Ali and allrounder Sindo Michael.
Zeeshan Maqsood is the skipper while Khawar Ali is his deputy.
Team: Zeeshan Maqsood (capt), Khawar Ali (vice-capt), Jatinder Singh, Aqib Ilyas, Ajay Lalcheta, Sindo Michael, Suraj Kumar (wk), Jay Odedra, Ahmad Fayyaz Butt, Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah, Nestor Dhamba, Twinkal Bhandari, Muhammad Nadeem, Wasim Ali.
Officials: Duleep Mendis (head coach), Mazhar Khan (assistant coach), Ruwan Kalpage (coach), Evert Laubscher (trainer), Zeeshan Siddiqui (video analyst), Maqbool Moosa (manager).