Muscat: Oman juniors will be hoping to translate immense promise into good results when Mohammed Sameer leads the Sultanate squad into Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Under-16 Western Region championship in the UAE next week.
Brimming with talented all-rounders, Oman under-16 squad has been specifically selected to suit the 35-over games with the Red Brigade having a real chance of success in the seven-nation tournament to be organised from January 5 to 13.
“This is a pretty balanced side that has the promise to succeed in this tournament. The team has prepared hard with a number of practice games played in the last few weeks in which the boys have given good account of their talent,” said team manager Dad Mohammed Al Balushi.
“With the kind of squad we have and the preparation we have had we are pretty confident of doing well in UAE,” he added.
Coach Syed Tariq Hussain believes Oman has every chance of winning the championship.
“I have been living and playing in Oman for many years but have rarely seen so many talented youngsters in one team. It’s an all-rounders’ team who can turn the game with both bat and ball anytime,” commented the coach.
Hussain had special praise for Rushil Dadwal, Udana Wickramaratne, Yash Mehta, Sanin Nisar and Pratamesh Kumble.
“The entire squad are good. These players have the potential to play for Oman senior national team if they work hard and stay in the country,” he added.
Commenting on the sides to beat, the coach said his boys will be taking all teams seriously but there would always be tougher opponents.
“We are not going to take any side lightly but the UAE and Kuwait are the teams to beat in this championship,” said the coach.
There has been special focus on the team’s fitness and the trainer feels the boys are in fine fettle.
“All the boys are fully fit and raring to go. They have been put through the paces and most of them have come out in flying colours,” commented Dr. M.V. Manjunath, who is accompanying the team as a fitness specialist.
Oman’s Red Brigade will be flying to UAE on Friday.
The tournament will be held on three grounds – Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Al Dhaid Cricket Village (Sharjah) and Eden Gardens (Ajman).
The seven participating teams have been divided into two groups. Kuwait are top seeds in Pool A followed by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Bahrain. Oman tops Pool B followed by UAE and Maldives. Top two teams from each pool qualify for semifinals.
Oman faces Maldives in their first game at Al Dhaid Cricket Village ground on January 7 followed by the all-important match against the UAE the next day at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The semifinals will be played on January 11 while the final will take place at Sharjah Cricket Stadium the following day.
Oman under-16 squad: Mohammed Sameer (captain), Sanin Nisar Fahad (vice-captain), Joel Biju (wicketkeeper), Rushil Dadwal, Prathamesh Kumble, Mohammed Kaif, Joshin Vincent, Amanpreet Singh, Neev Jayaprakash, Yash Mehta, Adeel Abbas, Udantha Sankalanapalihawadana, Sanjaya Ravindra and Udana Wickramaratne.
Reserves: Vrishabh J, Siddhant Gavankar, Chahel Balasubramaniyan, Yaswanth Udayakumar.
Officials: Dad Mohammed Al Balushi (manager), Syed Tariq Hussain (coach) and Dr. Manjunath (trainer).