Muscat: Following a top-six place in the recently concluded ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, Oman cricketers are all set to compete in the 2023 Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Sri Lanka from July 13-23.
The Oman A squad reached Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Monday evening for the fifth edition of the eight-nation continental tournament.
The tournament will feature U23 sides of defending champions Pakistan A alongside four other full member ACC nations – India, Bangladesh, hosts Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. They will be joined by the top-three teams from the inaugural edition of the ACC Men’s Premier Cup [Nepal, UAE and Oman], which was held in Nepal in April-May 2023.
Oman chief coach Duleep Mendis announced the 15-member squad for the Emerging Teams Asia Cup and retained ten of the players that played in Zimbabwe while picking three new faces among the five called up. Aqib Ilyas, who led Oman in the final two Super Six matches in the Qualifier, has been retained skipper of the Oman A side.
All-rounder Rafiullah, who was a member of the provisional squad of 17 for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier before being dropped, has been recalled. The 26-year-old has already represented the national team in T20Is. Another player recalled into the team is 24-year-old all-rounder Wasim Ali, who made his ODI debut for Oman against Namibia in March 2022.
The three new faces are 34-year-old wicketkeeper Abdul Rauf, 30-year-old batter Shubo Pal and 25-year-old pacer Muhammad Bilal Shah.
Regular skipper Zeeshan Maqsood, who is recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the last two matches at the Qualifier has been rested along with pacer Bilal Khan, all-rounder Sandeep Goud, wicketkeeper Naseem Khushi and experienced all-rounder Mohammed Nadeem. All five were part of the team that returned from Zimbabwe recently.
Mendis said: “This is another great opportunity for our players to showcase their talent at a big stage. It will be a good test to play against A teams from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.”
Oman A are clubbed in Group A with hosts Sri Lanka A, Afghanistan A and Bangladesh A. Group B comprises Pakistan A, India A, Nepal and UAE A.
Oman A begin their campaign with a match against Afghanistan A on July 13 and then meet Bangladesh A two days later on July 15. They conclude their group engagements with a match against the hosts Sri Lanka A on July 18.
In the ACC Premier Cup that was held in April-May, Nepal emerged champions with a win over the UAE.
Oman progressed to the ACC Emerging Teams Cup at the expense of Kuwait as the third-place play-off in Kathmandu was washed out early in the Omani chase. As the higher seeds ahead of the tournament, Oman were awarded the third spot for the ACC's second-tier tournament.
Oman had looked to be well on course for victory before rains came. Jay Odedra claimed 5-14 as Kuwait were spun out for just 130 before Kashyap Prajapati and Jatinder Singh's unbroken 41-run opening stand in reply was cut short by the elements.
Oman squad: Aqib Ilyas (captain), Jatinder Singh, Kashyap Prajapati, Ayaan Khan, Shoaib Khan, Suraj Kumar (wicketkeeper), Jay Odedra, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt, Samay Shrivastav, Wasim Ali, Rafiullah, Abdul Rauf (wk), Shubo Pal, Muhammed Bilal Shah.
Officials: Head Coach: Duleep Mendis, assistant coach: Evert Laubscher, coach co-ordinator: Mazher Saleem Khan, analyst: Zeeshan Siddiqui, physio : Sean Nowak.