With Oman national team set to start their all-important journey to the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division 2 in Namibia in February, Oman Cricket has hired two expert coaches to fine tune the players for a high profile international assignment.
Ruwan Kalpage, former Sri Lankan player, and Anusha Samaranayake, have been working assiduously with the team not only to polish their skills but to get them in the right frame of mind for a high-stake competition. Former Sri Lankan captain Duleep Mendis is the team’s head coach.
The two experts believe Oman has some good players who can become even better. Tasked with improving the team’s fielding, Kalpage is also focusing on the spinners in the squad.
Pleased to see quality fast bowlers in the side, Anusha is busy devising plans for his pacers about when to attack the batsmen or whether to do so or not in a given situation. The duo is determined to make a mark and are quite pleased with the way things are moving.
“The skill level of our boys is good. We are focusing on the planning part. Coming from a higher level we see big difference in the awareness level of their strengths and weaknesses and how these players prepare for a game. That is precisely why we are going to have Nandisha, a full-fledged computer analyst from India, with the team,” said Kalpage while commenting on his focus of attention.
Explaining the peculiarities of playing cricket in Oman, the former Sri Lankan Test player said: “When you are in a semi-professional environment, work and play compete for your time. You have got to spare some time to work on your fitness too because good athletes become very good fielders. That is why we are focusing on the agility factor in our fielding drills and we expect good results.”
He was of the view that Oman had a limited bench strength due to a smaller pool of players available for selection.
“Keeping that in mind we cannot afford to miss our key players due to injury. We have to work extra hard to prevent injuries in the team. This (WCL Division 2) is such an important tournament for Oman. If we do well here, local companies will step in to support cricket and that would be the best thing to happen for the game’s development,” he added.
Kalpage said Oman Cricket had done well to keep the team in good shape and the coaches had to take it forward to the next level.
“Our boys have good skills, we just have to polish them and work on their weaknesses. By watching them constantly for hours we can tell them where they went wrong and then work together to rectify those mistakes,” he added.
Talking about fast bowlers, Anusha said Oman had good quality pacers in the team.
“They are very skillful. I just have to work on their thinking pattern and tell them when to apply certain skills, when to attack and when to defend, the variations etc. I believe our fast bowlers can still improve and perform better in match situations. They can be better bowlers,” remarked the fast bowling coach.
Commenting on the team, Kalpage said Oman are a very competent side who have the capacity to surprise other teams.