Expected a better performance from boys: Mendis

Oman A squad lost all their matches at the recently-concluded ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Sri Lanka

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MUSCAT: After reaching the high of a top-six place in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe earlier this month, much was expected from the Oman side at the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Sri Lanka.

However, the Oman A squad that competed in the tournament failed to make an impression as they lost all the three matches in the group stage to make a tame exit.

National chief coach Duleep Mendis, who was delighted with his team’s display at the ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, admitted that the boys failed to perform in Sri Lanka but added that it is a learning curve for the national team.

Duleep Mendis - Head Coach

In his remarks at the conclusion of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup, which was won by Pakistan on Sunday, Mendis said: “I expected a much better performance from my boys. We rested few of our senior players for the Emerging Teams Asia Cup with an aim to provide exposure to newcomers. The team was a mix of senior and few newcomers but they disappointed.

“We had an exceptional tournament in Zimbabwe where we belied the expectations of many by qualifying for the Super Six stage. The players performed brilliantly and I am proud of what they achieved in the ICC World Cup Qualifier.

“I expected the senior players to continue their good form in Sri Lanka and hoped that would rub on the newcomers. It didn’t happen. I am not offering excuses but the long tour of Zimbabwe led to senior players being exhausted. They failed to do justice to their talent.”

The Sri Lankan great, who has been with Oman for more thana decade, and led the Team Red to two T20 World Cups and guided the team to ICC ODI World Cup Qualifier, added: “We did pick few newcomers and gave them a chance to play against some good sides in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup. We may have not got the desired results but this is the only way forward – to provide platform for newcomers at international stage.”

In Sri Lanka, Oman was placed in Group A with hosts Sri Lanka A, Bangladesh A and Afghanistan A.

Oman began their campaign on July 13 against Afghanistan and went down by 72 runs. Chasing a target of 268 to win after Afghanistan scored 267/8, Oman were dismissed for 195 in 40.3 overs with Ayaan Khan top-scoring with 47.

In the next game, Bangladesh A cruised to an eight-wicket win. Oman were all out for 126 in 46 overs with Ayaan again the top run-getter with 26. Bangladesh raced to win in 17 overs scoring 130/2.

And in the concluding group match, Oman had a game to forget as they were bundled out for a paltry 42 in 17.1 overs against hosts Sri Lanka A, who had batted first and hammered 259/8 in 50 overs. It was second ever lowest List A score of Oman.

Ayaan emerged as team’s top scorer with 74 runs from three matches followed by Shoaib Khan (70). Both the batters also had an excellent tour to Zimbabwe. In bowling, captain Aqib Ilyas picked a total of eight wickets with best figures of 4/58 against Sri Lanka A.

The Sri Lanka tour gave national team List A debuts for wicketkeeper Abdul Rauf, Shubo Pal and Muhammad Bilal Shah, who were called up for their maiden Oman tour.

Among the seniors rested for the tour were regular skipper Zeeshan Maqsood, who is recovering from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the last two matches at the Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Also missing were pacer Bilal Khan, all-rounder Sandeep Goud, wicketkeeper Naseem Khushi and experienced all-rounder Mohammed Nadeem. All five were part of the team that returned from Zimbabwe.

Mendis said: “In Sri Lanka, our senior players, who are semi-professionals looked to be exhausted. They are expected to adjust to different conditions but the team as a whole misfired. The good thing is that during the past few months, we have understood our strengths and weaknesses. We will try to work on it.”

He added: “We have had exceptional last few years leading to the ICC ODI World Cup Qualifier, having finished second in the ICC World Cricket League 2. We put on a solid performance in the ICC World Cricket League 2, finishing second among seven teams with 21 wins in 36 matches across four years.”

The former Sri Lankan Test captain, added: “We now have to gear up for the next FTP (Future Tours Programme) that will be the Division 2 again, starting from May 2024 for another three years with seven other strong nations – Canada, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Scotland, UAE, USA. We have to get a good bench strength and the focus has to be on newcomers who could serve Oman with passion and pride. It is going to be another long and tough cycle and at Oman Cricket we will be committed to provide more opportunities for talented newcomers.”

  • PartnersUpdated-27-11-2023

  • PartnersUpdated-27-11-2023