Fast bowlers Kaleemullah and Ahmed Fayyaz Butt and spin all-rounder Jay Odedara will represent Oman for the first time in an International Cricket Council (ICC) competition as Oman Cricket (OC) announced a strong side for the World Cricket League (WCL) Division Two tournament, starting in Namibia next month.
The 14-man squad, full of quality all-rounders, will be led by the experienced stumper Sultan Ahmed with mercurial all-rounder Zeeshan Maqsood named as his deputy.
The team is coached by Duleep Mendis with Ruwan Kalpage and Anusha Samaranayake helping as specialist spin bowling/fielding and fast bowling coaches respectively.
While the team has mature heads like Khawar Ali, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Jatinder Singh, Sultan Ahmed and Swapnil Khadye in the top and middle order, there is no dearth of firebrand match-winners in the ranks as Aqib Ilyas, Zeeshan Maqsood and Mohammed Naseem can turn a game any day with their strokeplay.
The presence of all-rounders Ajay Lalcheta, Muhammed Nadeem and Jay Odedara lends the team much-needed balance it needs for 50-over games. The fact that pacers Ahmed Fayyaz Butt and Kaleemullah can be explosive with the bat too on their day would certainly add to the team’s aura of being a fighting unit.
A total of six teams will take part in the tournament with Oman, Canada Kenya, UAE, Nepal and hosts Namibia competing on a round robin and knockout basis.
The top two teams will not only win promotion to WCL Division One but will earn the right to compete in the World Cup Qualifier to be held in March 2018 in Zimbabwe to decide the final qualification for the World Cup 2019.
The top two teams from the qualifiers will join the hosts and the seven teams who would have already qualified through their ranking in the ICC ODI Championship.
Oman squad: Sultan Ahmed (captain & wicket-keeper), Zeeshan Maqsood (vice captain), Jatinder Singh, Aqib Ilyas, Khawar Ali, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Ajay Lalcheta, Mohammed Nadeem, Jay Odedara, Bilal Khan, Swapnil Khadye, Mohammed Naseem, Kaleemullah, Ahmad Fayyaz Butt.
Reserves: Sufyan Mahmood, Nestar Dhamba, Baadal Singh and Mehran Khan.
Officials: Madhursinh Jesrani (manager), Pankaj Khimji (chef de mission), Duleep Mendis (coach), Mazhar Saleem Khan (assistant coach), Ruwan Kalpage (expert coach), Anusha (expert coach), Premnath (physio) and Nandisha (analyst).