Muscat – Experienced all-rounder Zeeshan Maqsood will lead Oman at the forthcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier, which will be held in Zimbabwe from June 18-July 9.
Oman Cricket unveiled the 17-member national squad at the Oman Cricket Academy Grounds in Al Amerat on Wednesday with the skipper expressing confidence in the team’s hopes to qualify for the World Cup.
“We are ready for the challenge and it’s a big opportunity for us to showcase our potential. We have the experience of playing against all the teams except for West Indies and Zimbabwe. We have to play to our best abilities and hopefully we can achieve the desired results,” said Maqsood.
The ten-nation Qualifier will decide the remaining two spots for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India 2023. Oman, who are aiming to qualify for the World Cup for the first time, will be heading to Durban in South Africa for a preparatory camp on May 28 where they will play five practice games before heading to Zimbabwean capital of Harare on June 11.
Oman’s 17-member squad will be trimmed to 15 for the Qualifier after the trip to Durban.
Flamboyant batter Aqib Ilyas has been named Maqsood’s deputy with the squad consisting of a majority of all-rounders.
Leg-spinner Samay Shrivastav and all-rounder Rafiullah are the only uncapped players in the squad.
The batting responsibilities will be on the shoulders of Jatinder Singh, Kashyap Prajapati, Aqib Ilyas, Shoaib Khan, Zeeshan Maqsood, Mohammed Nadeem, Ayaan Khan and Sandeep Goud.
The bowling attack will be spearheaded by left-arm pacer Bilal Khan and the lanky Kaleemullah with Rafiullah, Fayyaz Butt, Nadeem, Goud and Shoaib in support roles as medium pacers.
The spin department will depend on the guiles and the magic of Jay Odedra, Shrivastav, Maqsood, Ilyas and Ayaan.
With an average age of 32, the team will rely on the experience, which had come good during the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 where Oman finished second in the seven-nation tournament that featured 36 ODIs over the past four years.
Three wicketkeepers – Naseem Khushi, Suraj Kumar and Adeel Shafique – have been drafted with one sure to miss out from the final 15.
Oman have been clubbed with former World Cup winners Sri Lanka, Ireland, Scotland and neighbours UAE in Group B. Hosts Zimbabwe, West Indies, Netherlands, Nepal and United States make up Group A.
Oman will begin their campaign on June 19 in Bulawayo against Ireland followed by a game against UAE on June 21. On June 23, Oman will take on 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka before concluding the league stage with a match against Scotland on June 25.
Each side will play the other teams in their group once with the top three from the groups progressing to the Super Six stage.
The teams each play three Super Six matches against the sides they did not meet in the group stage. All points won in the groups will be carried over to the Super Six stage apart from those gained against the bottom two from each group.
The finalists will both progress to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. The Super Six stage will commence on June 29, while the bottom two teams from each group will compete in the playoff.
Oman squad for World Cup Qualifier (Final 15 after Durban trip): Zeeshan Maqsood (captain), Aqib Ilyas (vice-captain), Jatinder Singh, Kashyap Prajapati, Shoaib Khan, Mohammed Nadeem, Sandeep Goud, Ayaan Khan, Suraj Kumar, Adeel Shafique, Naseem Khushi, Bilal Khan, Kaleemullah, Fayyaz Butt, Jay Odedra, Samay Shrivastav, Rafiullah.