Get out of T20 mode: Azhar

May 02, 2017

Mohammed Azharuddin (second from left), Duleep Mendis (second from right), David East (third from right), Mohammed Hassan al Lawatia from Omantel (fourth from left), and senior Oman Cricket officials, during a press conference on Monday (Muscat Daily) 

Former Indian cricket star Mohammed Azharuddin saw the national team cricketers for the first time on Sunday when Oman slumped to an eight-wicket crushing defeat to the visiting UAE side in the first of the three-match 50-over-a-side series.

The former Indian captain, much loved for his wristy shots, over a career that saw him play 99 Test matches, has been known to speak his mind and minced no words in his message for the Oman cricketers - get out of the Twenty20 mode.

In his remarks to Muscat Daily on Monday, Azhar said, “The team is good. But the players need to raise their concentration level. They need to get out of the Twenty20 mode. The early, the better.

“In a one-dayer, the concentration level required is double than what a player needs in T20. Oman players need to know how to build partnerships. They need to be patient at times.

“A few dull overs where they can't score should not lead to a panic situation,” said the Indian star, who played 334 ODIs and scored 9,378 runs.

“I saw the team playing for first time on Sunday against the UAE. The team was doing well but once the first two wickets fell, there was a panic and the team collapsed. They need not press panic button so fast,” said the former Indian cricketer.”

Azhar said, “The team needs to score more as it does not have a good bowling attack. So the batsmen's role is crucial to get big scores to defend.”

Azhar, who has been invited by the Oman Cricket, to share his wealth of knowledge and experiences with the national team ahead of their departure to Kenya en route to Uganda, said, “The series against UAE is a good way to prepare for the ICC World Cricket League Division Three. The more the players play matches, the better. It is very important to give the team match exposure.”

“The players need to work hard. There is no shortcut to success. Oman team needs to play more matches at higher level to improve,” said Azhar, who at one stage held the record of the fastest hundred, maximum runs and most catches in ODIs.

Bilateral relations to get a boost: Pankaj

The visit of the UAE cricket team and the presence of David East, the CEO of the Emirates Cricket Board, for talks on boosting relations with Oman will go a long way in developing the game in the region, according to Pankaj Khimji, a senior board member of the Oman Cricket.

Khimji said, “Thanks to UAE cricket, we are having a good preparation for the national team and this cooperation will certainly be taken to the next level. We plan to host more bilateral series and also would hope to have a triangular series involving stronger Associate nations.”

The national team coach Duleep Mendis said that the “three matches against the UAE followed by games against Kenya and Malaysia in Nairobi” will serve the team perfectly going into the WCL Division Three in Uganda. Oman will take on the hosts, US, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore for a berth in WCL Division Two.

Mendis said that he ‘was confident of Oman gaining promotion in Uganda’.

Former Sri Lankan Test players, Rumesh Ratnayake and Ruwan Kalpage, who have arrived to assist the team as bowling and fielding coaches respectively, were hopeful that the team will reach its goal in Uganda. Nandisha G from India will accompany the team as a video analyst. Ratnayake said the team needs to be “more consistent” in its performances .

Also present on the occasion were Sultan Ahmed, the Oman captain, Madhu Jesrani, the OC secretary, Syed Anwar Ahsan, the OC chief selector, Ahmad Raza, UAE skipper, and other officials.