COLOMBO: A confident Oman team reached Sri Lanka on Sunday to participate in the high profile eight-nation Emerging Teams’ Asia Cup 2018, being held simultaneously in Pakistan and Sri Lanka from December 6 to 15.
Group A comprises India, Oman, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka while Group B consists of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and UAE. According to the tournament rules, all the Test-playing nations will send their teams comprising eleven Under-23 players and four senior stars while the other fours teams will have their full-strength sides in action.
While the tournament starts on December 6 with the opening matches between Pakistan vs Hong Kong and Bangladesh vs UAE in Karachi, Oman will play its first match on December 7 against Sri Lanka in Colombo with India taking on Afghanistan. The semifinals and the final will be played in Colombo.
Oman players hit the nets later in the day to start their preparations right away. Having won the ICC WCL Division Three a week ago, Oman has come to the tournament well-prepared and tThe spring in their strides was quite noticeable.
When asked to comment on his team’s chances Coach Duleep Mendis sounded confident and raring to go.
“We are in pretty good shape as a side. Winning the WCL 3 and staying undefeated has lifted the whole team’s morale. However, it’s a new tournament and we are going to be up against quality sides. My boys are confident they can make an impact here,” said Mendis.
Talking about the pressure of playing against top teams like India, Mendis said Oman had been waiting for the opportunity to play against superior sides.
“We are not under pressure at all as we have nothing to lose. In fact, we have a lot to gain from this tournament. We wanted to play against stronger teams and this competition provides us an excellent opportunity to test ourselves against superior opposition,” the coach added.
Replying to a question about new additions to the team, Mendis said he was glad to have a senior player back in the side after injury.
“Ajay is a seasoned campaigner and will add quality to the team. We really missed him in the WCL 3 tournament. We have also brought Wasim Ali, a youngster, with the team who will get a lot to learn from this trip. All-rounder Sindo Michael has also been picked for this tournament and their inclusion is sure to boost our fielding and middle order batting,” he added.