Oman to host first international ODI cricket series from Sunday
Oman cricket will take a big step towards hosting international matches at its Al Amerat ground on Sunday when the national team will take on the visiting UAE side in the first of three-match one-day series.
The visit by the UAE side is the first by an ICC Associate nation to Oman and the series is part of preparations for Duleep Mendis' men ahead of the ahead of their participation in the 50-over ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division Three in Uganda from May 23-30.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, on Saturday, Oman coach Mendis said, “I have to thank UAE Cricket for agreeing to tour Oman ahead of our WCL Division Three tournament. To play against UAE side, which is in Division Two, will give us a good look at our strengths and weaknesses ahead of Uganda trip.”
While the opening game on Sunday will begin at 10am, the second match on May 2 will be a day-night affair with the match scheduled to begin at 2pm. The final one-dayer will be played on Thursday from 10am.
Prior to Uganda tour, Oman will also play four matches in Kenya, with two games planned against the national team and one against Kenya A squad. Oman will also play a match against Malaysia in Kenya.
The national team departs for Kenya on May 11 and will reach Uganda on May 20.
“Playing five matches against strong Division Two teams will prepare our boys for the Uganda challenge. I hope the boys come up with good performances in all the games as victories will boost the team’s morale,” said Mendis.
Oman Cricket has announced free entry for fans and is looking forward to the series, which would also not only test the team's preparations but also OC's organisational abilities.
The UAE team arrived on Saturday for the series. Oman team will be skippered by Sultan Ahmed.
The national team's camp, which begins with the series against UAE also got a boost with the arrival of former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin on Saturday.
Azhar is expected to be with the team for a week and help the boys’ develop their mental strength and also give batting tips to the players.
In Uganda, Oman will take on hosts, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, US for a chance to be promoted to Division Two.
Besides Azhar, who will also serve as a batting consultant, the national team’s coaching unit has former Sri Lankan stars, Rumesh Ratnayake and Ruwan Kalpage, as bowling and fielding coaches respectively. India's Nandisha G will be part of the team as a video analyst.
Oman squad: Zeeshan Maqsood, Aaqib Ilyas, Khawar Ali, Twinkal Bhandari, Noorul Riaz, Ajay Lalcheta, Muhammed Naseem, Sultan Ahmed (captain), Muhammed Nadeem, Munis Ansari, Bilal Khan, Sufyan Mehmood, Jatinder Singh, Arun Poulose.
Reserves: Rajesh Ranpura, Nestor Dhamba, Syed Amir Ali, Baadal Singh.