MUSCAT: Dashing all-rounder Zeeshan Maqsood will lead Oman in the six-nation Asia Cup Qualifiers being hosted by Malaysia from August 29 to September 6, 2018. Veteran all-rounder Khawar Ali has been named the vice-captain.
Winner of the tournament will qualify to play in the Asia Cup 2018, joining the major cricket powers like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the showpiece event in UAE from September 15 to 28.
Attaching great importance to the tournament, Oman Cricket (OC) had started the preparation camp a couple of months ago to keep the team in good shape.
Packed with gutsy all-rounders, the team is a good blend of poise and aggression, a combination considered vital to succeed in 50-over cricket. Showing good form in the practice games, the players are now ‘raring to go’.
“We have worked hard to get the boys in fine fettle for the tournament. We have been practicing in the extreme heat twice a day in order to improve the boys’ fitness in the off-season,” said Duleep Mendis, Head Coach of the team.
“We are now travelling to Sri Lanka to play some practice games against strong opponents and acclimatize too, as Malaysia and Sri Lanka have similar weather. Even though the pitches are different, getting some good practice and training in Sri Lanka will benefit the team,” added Mendis.
Oman will play its first match on August 29 against Nepal whose 17-year old leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane may pose a serious threat, having already matured as a bowler after his first IPL season with Delhi Daredevils.
Wicketkeeper batsman Suraj Kumar has been picked to play for Oman for the first time.
Oman 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 (Head Coach), Mazhar Saleem Khan (Assistant Coach), Nuwan Kalpage (Fielding Coach), Premnath J (Physio), Zeeshan Siddiqui (Analyst).
Reserve players: Nestor Dhamba, Twinkal Bhandari, Wasim Ali and Yousuf Al Balushi.
Oman matches schedule: August 29: Nepal vs Oman at Bayuemas Oval; August 30: Malaysia vs Oman at UKM Oval; September 1: Oman vs Singapore at Kinrara Oval; September 2: Hong Kong vs Oman at Kinrara Oval; September 4: UAE vs Oman at Bayuemas Oval. September 6: Final at Kinrara Oval.