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Oman team train in Dubai ahead of ICC WCL Division 4 competition
October 10, 2016 | 9:41 PM
by T.K. MOHANDOSS / [email protected]
Oman players at Muscat International Airport.
 
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Muscat: A sound and fit Oman national cricket squad flew to Dubai on Monday for the final round of preparation ahead of the all-important ICC World Cricket League Division 4 tournament, which will be held at Woodley Park, Los Angeles, from October 29 to November 5.

Oman, who qualified as the second best team behind Jersey in Division 4, will be joined by hosts USA, Bermuda, Denmark and Italy in the six-team tournament, with the top-two sides advancing to the ICC WCL Division 3, which will be held next year.

Denmark and Italy retained their spots in Division 4 after finishing third and fourth respectively in WCL Division 4, 2014 held in Singapore, where Malaysia were the eventual winners.

USA and Bermuda dropped down from WCL Division 3 after they finished as the fifth and sixth teams in the tournament held in Malaysia in 2014.



In fact, this is the first time an ICC WCL divisional event will be played in the USA and also some of the teams like Oman playing in that region.

According to Oman Cricket's Chief Development Officer and national coach Duleep Mendis, the national team with new faces like Arun Poulose and Twinkal Kumar Bhandri is raring to go and gain yet another promotion on their way to top of the WCL, which opens doors for having a look at qualification for World Cup 2019.

Mendis says the boys are confident and "I am sure their hard work for the past three months will pay dividends."

Speaking from Dubai, Mendis said: "We are here for the final round of preparations and will be playing three practice matches against the UAE."

Oman will be playing the UAE on October 13, 15 and 17, before they return to Oman on October 18.

"We will be travelling to Los Angeles on October 22 for the Division 4 and hopefully will return home having moved on to the next level," said the coach, who has been working on the fitness level of the players.

Opening slot

On Twinkal's selection, Mendis said: "He is the 15th member and is not part of the 14-member team for the WCL Division 4. Twinkal is a back-up for wicket-keeper batsman Swapnil Khadye as we though having him on board is vital as the tournament is being played in USA and getting a last-minute replacement is difficult because of the distance."

Mendis added on to say that Arun Poulose will be the new face and "he will don the opener's role."

Mendis also confirmed that the 14-member team plus Twinkal has been confirmed and changes are unlikely for the Division 4 tournament in Los Angeles.

Mendis also lauded the efforts of his support staff, which includes Sri Lankan veterans Rumesh Ratnayake and Ruwan Kalpage, the latter replacing Indian's Sunil Joshi as spin coach.

"Kalpage has been doing wonders with the players as his responsibility extends to fielding too," said Mendis, who hinted that the three-month preparation will be put to test in the coming days.

Oman squad: Ajay Vrajlal Lalcheta (captain), Jatinder Singh (vice-captain), Zeeshan Maqsood, Arun Poulose, Mehran Khan, Sufyan Mahmood, Syed Amir Ali, Swapnil Khadye, Rajeshkumar Ranpura, Munis Ansari, Mohammed Nadeem, Khawar Ali, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Zeeshan Siddiqui and Twinkal Kumar Bhandari.

Coach and Chief Development officer: Duleep Mendis, Assistant coach: Mazhar Khan. Bowling coaches: Rumesh Ratnayake (fast) and Ruwan Kalpage (spin). Physio: Jaganathan Premnath.

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