Oman March 24, 2010

Oman loses captain for ACC Trophy return

Tony Munro

Tony Munro

Oman will be without captain Hemal Mehta for their return to the top level of non-Test cricket in Asia, the ACC Trophy Elite, to be held in Kuwait from March 31 to April 9.

Mehta had to opt out due to work commitments so the squad will be led by wicketkeeper Sultan Ahmed, who has been Mehta's deputy in several previous non-Test tournaments.

The squad includes the core of the team which has made it one of the more unpredictable in the second tier of Asian cricket. Aggressive allrounder Hemin Desai, middle-order batsmen Adnan Iyas and Vaibhav Wategaonkar and fast bowler Awal Khan are regular members of the Omani team.

Mehta's absence is a blow not just due to his captaincy, as he was player of the tournament at last year's ACC Trophy Challenge (the virtual second division of Asian non-Test cricket). Oman easily won the tournament to earn promotion back to the top flight. They were consigned to the Challenge after losing two of three matches in the 2006 ACC Trophy, and were the runners-up in the 2004 ACC Trophy and third in the ACC Twenty20 Cup last November.

Oman is in Group A alongside Hong Kong, Nepal, Singapore and Kuwait. Group B comprises United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Bahrain and Bhutan.

The squad is: Sultan Ahmed (capt), Rafeeq Al-Balushi, Yousuf Mahmood Sufyan Mahmood, Hemin Desai, Adnan Ilyas, Vaibhav Wategaonkar, Zeeshan Siddiqui, Awal Khan, Khalid Rasheed, Amir Ali, Nileshkumar Parmar, Tariq Hussain, Aamir Khaleem; coach - Mazhar Khan.