Muscat, Jan 3 – When Mohammed Sameer leads Oman into Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) seven-nation Under-16 Western Region championship in UAE next week he would know the difference between glory and disaster lies in how his team can translate its immense promise into results.
Brimming with talented all-rounders, Oman Under-16 squad has been specifically selected to suit the 35-over games with its red brigade having a real chance of success.
“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 a serious 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 whole side is good but these players have the potential to play for Oman 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 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 Manjunath, who is going with the team as a fitness specialist.
Oman’s red brigade will be flying to UAE today where 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 is seeded first in Pool A followed by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Bahrain. Oman tops Pool B followed by UAE and Maldives. Two teams from each pool qualify for semifinals after playing pool matches on a single league basis.
Oman face Maldives in its first game at Al Dhaid Cricket Village ground on Sunday, January 7 followed by the all-important match against UAE the next day at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. Oman can qualify for the semis by winning its first game if Maldives lose to UAE too.
The semifinals will be played on January 11, while the final will take place at Sharjah Cricket Stadium the next 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, Udana Wickramaratne.
Reserves: Varishab, Siddhant Gavankar, Chahel Balasubramaniyan, Yaswanth Udayakumar.
Officials: Manager: Dad Mohammed al Balushi, Coach: Syed Tariq Hussain. Trainer: Dr Manjunath.