MUSCAT, FEB 11 – With a development side beating Ireland twice in two days, Oman now fancy their chances in this week’s T20 Quadrangular Series with more conviction when the national team takes on the top European outfits including the Netherlands and Scotland at Amerat’s lush green ground. Oman will clash with Ireland in the opening game on Wednesday and their captain Ajay Lalcheta feels his team is all geared up to get going from the word go.
“We are absolutely ready, well prepared and very confident of performing well. Playing the T20 series on home ground will certainly give us an edge as we know the conditions better than the other three teams,” said Lalcheta who is leading the team due to the absence of regular captain Zeeshan Maqsood due to injury.
Commenting on the absence of Maqsood and Aqib Ilyas, the mercurial opener, Lalcheta said it was a big gap to fill but he was happy to have received quality replacements.
“We will certainly miss our two main players (Zeeshan and Aqib) but we have got quality players as their replacement. Experienced campaigner Amir Kaleem, who is in pretty good form, is going to make a comeback into the national side after almost three years. Middle order batsman Khurram Khan has been picked again for the series and we are happy to have the big hitters Naseem Khushi and Mehran Khan in the squad. Their presence is certainly going to help us deal with the absence of two missing stars,” added the Oman captain.
When asked which team in his view would pose the strongest challenge to Oman, Lalcheta said all the teams were quite strong.
“This format of the game is all about momentum and playing smart cricket. We feel we can win against any side on our day so no team can be picked as the hardest to defeat. At the same time, any team will be difficult to beat if we do not focus on the situation and apply ourselves accordingly. T20 cricket is about reading the game well and making quick decisions on time. It is as much a battle of brains as it is of super skills and innovations,” he remarked.
Replying to a question about how confident he was of winning the series, the Oman captain said, “Very confident as we are a pretty balanced side full of individual talent. Most of them are in good touch as we are in the middle of our domestic T20 league. Moreover, we have the home advantage over the other teams and that will certainly help us perform to the best of our abilities. We really are looking forward to the games and can’t wait for the action to begin.”
The four-nation tournament, to be supervised by ICC officials and covered by cutting-edge technology including the Hawk Eye, will be followed by a three-match ODI series between hosts Oman and Scotland on February 19, 20 and 22.