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‘Just another match’: Oman captain Aqib Ilyas on facing Australia in T20 World Cup

Oman takes on Australia in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup in Bridgetown, Barbados.©AFP




Oman captain Aqib Ilyas, buoyed by the performance in the opening match against Namibia, has urged his team not to be intimidated by the Australian names in the opposition squad when they take on the Aussies in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup in Barbados. In a pre-match press conference, Ilyas insisted that Oman treat the match like any other and not be intimidated by Australia, who are aiming to become the first team to win world trophies in all three formats after their World Championship Tests (WTC) and ODI World Cup Victories last year.

Ilyas said it is a tactic to convince Oman that they can compete with a big team and he feels his team can attack Australia with effect. While praising the “Australian mentality” and record of success in major events, the Oman captain, who bowls both leg and spin, believes a combination of the island’s unpredictable rainy season squalls and Uncertainty over a surprisingly dry block of pitch will work in their favor.

“Once you get on the field, there is no big name, there is no one bigger than you on the field. It’s another game for us and we don’t think we are going to play against someone extraordinary,” Ilyas said in a pre-match presentation .

“I don’t have to go and tell them as captain that you are going to face (Mitchell) Starc. It already comes to mind when you play against some of the best bowlers or cricketers. So it has been very positive from the management. (and) also from the coach, he said we don’t even take their names, it’s just a team that has come and they are still at the same level as us. We have also qualified, they have also qualified, one. He is going to be champion, so there is not much difference, although we respect them (and) what they have (done) in the past. That’s why they are named world champions,” he added.

“There is no doubt that there are big names, but (to) our guys, what I tell them is that if they face Starc tomorrow, imagine someone facing Starc or any of the best players, how much they will stand out,” said the captain of Oman. .

Oman have already played one match at Kensington Oval, a low-scoring match against Namibia which they lost in a Super Over. It was a tricky surface with uneven bounce and spin, although it looked easier to bat on during the day as Scotland put up a strong initial defense against England before the rain arrived, and although a new pitch is expected for the match against Australia, Ilyas believes that the conditions can bring the parties closer together.

“You look at the last game, how the ball was spinning and staying low. (Australia) had some good technical players (against spin) in the past like (Steven) Smith and (Marnus) Labuschagne, but I don’t think they did it “Now many are looking to achieve a big success. Everyone tries to make sixes, but not every day is the same day and if there is the same wicket, maybe it can be a problem for them,” Ilyas said.

“As you could see PNG bowling against the West Indies, (it was) difficult to chase 130 runs even having (some of) the biggest batsmen in the side. So, on a slower track, on a slow wicket, with good quality spinners, (The) only thing is that we have to play with a big heart and we have to put it in the right areas because the ball doesn’t know how big the batsman in front of him is a spinner. little, stays low or anything happens, the batsman is gone,” the Oman captain added.

Ilyas, who hinted at at least an alteration in his batting line-up, which scored just 109 against Namibia, has urged his team to use the match as an opportunity for his players to put their names in the spotlight.

“The guys are really excited. When you face the best teams, that’s when you stand out all over the world. The guys have a lot of opportunities. The thing is, we don’t have much to lose. Every time there’s a World Cup, there’s an upheaval. … the weather, how it’s behaving, anything can happen,” he said.

“We respect them a lot as a team… but before the match, it is important not to be intimidated by them. After the match, of course, there are great players in their team and we can learn a lot from them. But maybe even they could learn something of us,” Ilyas added.

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