There may not be any superstars among Oman’s cricket squad, which will be involved in the ICC World Cup League Two tri-series in Aberdeen with Scotland and Papua New Guinea this week.
But the man who has been the catalyst for their rapid rise up the international rankings is one of the most renowned figures in the sport.
Duleep Mendis, the former Test stalwart, captain and team manager of the Sri Lankan team which won the World Cup in 1996, has no intention of resting on his laurels now that Oman have gained ODI status.
Scotland know they can’t afford to treat Mendis’ squad lightly at Mannofield, given how they have surged to a series of impressive achievements in the last decade.
They gained a terrific fillip when they defeated Ireland on the global T20 stage in 2016, but more importantly, they have created the quality of facilities in their homeland which are the envy of most ICC Full Members, let alone Associate nations.
Earlier this year, the Scots skittled Oman for just 24 – as the prelude to winning the fixture with 46.4 of their 50 overs to spare – but it was a measure of Mendis’ powers of motivation that his side recovered to beat the same rivals convincingly just a couple of days later.
In the decider, Kyle Coetzer and his colleagues amassed more than 300 runs, but Oman pushed them close, mustering 288 in reply. In which light, although Scotland will start as favourites in the week-long event in Aberdeen, which starts tomorrow, they will be wary of the threat posed by Oman’s redoubtable group.
Mendis himself doesn’t make any great claims for his own contribution to this success story. On the contrary, he seems determined to accentuate the efforts of others.
He said: “The board is really driving Oman cricket forward and it has been easy for me, because of the outstanding work they have done.
“We have two beautifully laid-out [national] grounds with floodlights and the new academy in Al-Amarat has improved the team’s performance tremendously. Anyone can come and play in Oman now.”
However, his cv speaks for itself and one trusts this imminent tournament attracts the interest of cricket enthusiasts across the north east.
It’s the first international action at Mannofield since 2014 and while the ICC World Cup League Two – comprising Scotland, Oman, PNG, Namibia, Nepal, the UAE and USA – is not exactly the Champions League, it does offer a route to greater things.
Papua New Guinea, for their part, have endured a difficult summer, with their board suspending 10 of their under-19 players for a year for bringing the game into disrepute.
They failed to turn up for an important qualifying match in Japan, which meant the PNG authorities were forced to forfeit the contest. At the moment, the offenders are undertaking a comprehensive rehabilitation programme and they have also committed to doing 60 hours of community service.
The whole incident was a reminder of the travails faced by those attempting to negotiate the route from base camp to summit.
Mendis, on the other hand, has already been at the top of the world. And, as he said, of the Omanis: “We will certainly make an impact in ODIs in the next three years.”
Scottish fans will just be hoping that it doesn’t happen in Aberdeen!