Complete team effort, says Dad Mohammed

Dad Mohammed Al Balushi, Oman Cricket Under-19 team manager

MUSCAT: Oman's spirited performance in the ACC Under-19 Challenge Cup in Thailand was completely a team effort, according to an Oman Cricket (OC) board official.

Speaking to Times Sport, Dad Mohammed Al Balushi, the team manager of Under-19 national team, said that two months of continuous match practice turned out to be the key to the success of the squad. 

"This was a very young side and many people are asking how we did so well against some of the toughest teams. We had a complete plan for the tournament and it worked exactly the way we wanted," said Dad.

The young team won the second place in the championship following their 16 run loss to Singapore in the final. Interestingly, Oman also won all three matches to top Group B.

"What we wanted was to top the Group but these boys were simply outstanding and helped us to reach the final," said Dad who is considered to be the 'lucky' team manager for the Oman national team.

"I have been with many teams in the past. And most of these teams have reached the semifinals but this is for the first time in my career as team manager that a team is reaching the final. It would have been quite a special moment in my life if we had won this tournament," he said.

Dad heaped praise on Oman junior coach Rakesh Sharma for guiding the team to the runners-up spot.
"For a good team, you need a good coach and Rakesh has done an excellent job in moulding this team.

He worked very hard training the boys. This is my second tour with the coach. He has a better knowledge and technique about the game and it certainly helped the boys in the tournament," he said.

Dad also said OC should promote Rakesh, and give him more responsibilities to serve the national teams.

"Rakesh has proved his mettle several times in the past and now he has raised the bar with this tournament. I think OC should think seriously to give him a promotion," he said.

Most of the players, according to Dad, played in a 50-overs format for the first time in this tournament.  "Most of these players are playing in the 20-over-format League and this tournament was a first of its kind for them but everyone played really well.

"We could play throughout the 50 overs in most of the games and that was the success of this squad. They adapted to the situation so well," he said. The three Omani players — Shuhaib Al Balushi, Wazim Al Balushi and Ibrahim Al Harthy — proved that their selection was right and they have a bright future as they play for Oman.

Dad also praised the young swashbuckling batsman Shuhaib and vouched for him to be selected to the senior national team.

"The Omani players were simply outstanding, especially Shuhaib. On many occasions, Shuhaib has shown his spirited performance. He is handy for any squad and it's high time Oman Cricket selects him to be part of  the senior squad. I am sure he will do justice to his role," he said.

Among the seven teams that played in the tournament, Dad said Oman was the most confident side. 

"We were the most confident and the most motivated squad that played in that tournament.  "Even before the start of the final, we began as favourites but we weren't lucky enough to win the Cup. But as the team manager, I am extremely happy with the overall performance. Full credit to Oman Cricket officials and the technical staff with the team for all the support," he added.


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