Maqsood to lead Oman in Asia Cup Qualifier
Explosive allrounder Zeeshan Maqsood has been handed the responsibility to lead Oman for the first time after Oman Cricket (OC) selectors named him the skipper of the side that aims to win the six-nation Asia Cup Qualifier in Malaysia from August 29 to September 6.
The winner of the Qualifier will secure the final berth for the Asia Cup, which will be held in UAE from September 15-28.
Besides Oman, the other teams in fray at the Qualifier are UAE, Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore and hosts Malaysia. The winner will join India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan in UAE.
Coached by Sri Lankan great Duleep Mendis, Oman players have been training in Muscat for the past few months.
“We have worked hard to get the boys in good shape for the Qualifier. We have been practicing twice a day despite the hot weather,” said Mendis.
Ahead of the Qualifier, Oman will play a few practice games in Sri Lanka. The team departs for Colombo next week.
“Even though the pitches are different, getting some good practice and training in Sri Lanka will benefit the team as both countries have similar weather conditions at this time of the year,” said Mendis.
Wicketkeeper batsman Suraj Kumar has been called up in the squad for the first time.
Squad: Zeeshan Maqsood (captain), Khawar Ali (vice-captain), Jatinder Singh, Aaqib Ilyas, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Muhammad Nadeem, Mehran Khan, Muhammad Naseem, Jay Odedra, Bilal Khan, Ahmed Fayyaz Butt, Kaleemullah, Sufyan Mahmood, Ajay Lalcheta and Suraj Kumar.
Team officials: Madhu Jesrani (manager), Pankaj Khimji (mentor), Duleep Mendis (chief coach), Mazhar Saleem Khan (assistant coach), Nuwan Kalpage (fielding coach), Premnath J (physio), Zeeshan Siddiqui (analyst).
Oman’s schedule at the Qualifier: August 29: vs Nepal, August 30: vs Malaysia, September 1: vs Singapore, September 2: vs Hong Kong, September 4: vs UAE, September 6: Final.