Maqsood to lead a strong team to Namibia for six-nation tournament
By Shahzad Raza
MUSCAT: All-rounder Zeeshan Maqsood will lead a full-strength Oman side to Namibia to participate in the all-important six-nation ICC World Cricket League Division Two, starting on April 20.
Pankaj Khimji, senior member of Oman Cricket Board, will lead the squad as Chef de Mission while Madhu Jesrani has been appointed as the team manager for the tour.
Senior batsman Khawar Ali has been named the vice-captain for the tournament, which could fetch Oman One-day International (ODI) status if it finishes among the top four teams.
“Qualifying for the ODI status will be among our goals in Namibia and we will be fighting hard to achieve this,” said Duleep Mendis, Oman’s head coach.
The Red Brigade is packed with exciting all-rounders, giving the team management a variety of options to pick its playing eleven.
“The team has been selected keeping in view the kind of opposition we are going to face in Namibia. The large presence of all-rounders in our team is certainly going to be helpful as they can contribute with both bat and ball. Hosting the Quadrangular Series in Oman followed by a three-match series against Scotland helped us a lot in getting our combinations right for the WCL Two. Some of the boys performed extremely well and won their selection. We were having a healthy competition and that really helped in picking a balanced side,” explained Mendis.
He said all the teams in WCL Two were strong and had played a lot of good cricket over the past few months.
“We will have to perform really well to beat them. All the team members and I are confident that we can finish at the top in Namibia,” added the Oman coach.
Oman team will be going to South Africa first for a pre-tour training camp in Pretoria which is close to Namibia with similar weather and playing conditions.
“We will also play a few practice games against the local teams in Pretoria. I am sure this two-week camp will help us prepare well for the WCL Two tournament,” said Mendis.
According to International Cricket Council (ICC), the competition will have important ramifications for qualification for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The top four teams from WCL2 will join Scotland, Nepal, and the United Arab Emirates in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 2019-21, and play 36 ODIs each over a two-and-a-half year period in 21 tri-series. The top three in this table will qualify for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier, from which the top two sides will qualify for the Cricket World Cup 2023.
For the bottom two sides, this won’t be the end of their CWC dream. They will enter the Cricket World Cup Qualifier Challenge League A and B, from which the winner of each will progress to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier play-off. The top two sides in the CWCQ play-off, which will also contain the bottom four sides from CWC League 2, will enter CWCQ 2022.
The Namibian reports that the six-nation World Cricket League Division 2 tournament will be played in Namibia again in April 2019. Canada and Namibia will definitely take part after finishing 3rd and 4th in last year’s tournament and remaining in Division 2, while UAE and Nepal were promoted, and Kenya and Oman relegated. Both Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea finished in the bottom two places in the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier, therefore relegating them to the Division Two tournament. The top two teams in WCL division 3, to be played this fall, will join them. Canada will be familair with the venues and conditions after this year’s tournament.
The top four teams will join Scotland, Nepal and the United Arab Emirates in the 2019–21 ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 and gain ODI status.
ICC WCL Division Two schedule
Saturday, 20 April: PNG v Namibia, Canada v Hong Kong, Oman v USA.
Sunday, 21 April: Namibia v USA, Canada v Oman, PNG v Hong Kong.
Tuesday, 23 April: Hong Kong v Oman, PNG v USA, Namibia v Canada.
Wednesday, 24 April: PNG v Canada, Namibia v Oman, Hong Kong v USA.
Friday, 26 April: Canada v USA, Namibia v Hong Kong, PNG v Oman.
Saturday, 27 April: Final at The Wanderers, Third-place play-off, Fifth-place play-off.
Oman squad: Zeeshan Maqsood (captain), Khawar Ali (vice-captain), Aqib Ilyas, Jatinder Singh, Khurram Khan Sandeep Goud, Suraj Kumar (wicket-keeper), Baadal Singh, Jay Odedara, Muhammed Nadeem, Sufyan Mahmood, Sindo Michael, Ahmed Fayyaz Butt, Kaleemullah and Bilal Khan.
Reserves: Nestor Dhamba, Mohammed Naseem Khushi, Ajay Lalcheta.
Team officials: Chef de Mission: Pankaj Khimji. Manager: Madhu Jesrani. Head coach: Duleep Mendis. Assistant coach: Mazhar Khan. Expert coach: Ruwan Kalpage. Trainer: Evert Laubscher. Physio: Jaganathan Premnath. Video analyst: Zeeshan Ahmed Siddiqui.