HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A 17-member Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) team is heading for Dehradun on Friday to participate in the 31st All India Uttarakhand Gold Cup Cricket Tournament scheduled for May 18-June 2.
The team is mostly a combination of senior and junior members of the national team with Prithu Baskota leading the side in the absence of the Paras Khadka and his deputy Gyanendra Malla. The Nepali team is drawn in Group D with ONGC Ltd, Air India and KGK Jaipur in the 16-team tournament.
Among the other members include vice-captain Bhuvan Karki, Shakti Gauchan, Anil Kumar Mandal, Binod Bhandari, Pradeep Airee, Sagar Pun, Ram Naresh Giri, Naresh Budhaayer, Avinash Karn, Chandra Sawad, Yagyaman Kumal, Mahendra Chand and Rajesh Pulami Magar. Former skipper Binod Das is the team coach. Purna Lama is the team manager and Jyanendra Jha the physiotherapist. Top two teams from each of the four pools will make it to the knockout stage. Winners and the runners-up will earn INR 150,000 and INR 100,000. The losing semi-finalist are also assured for INR 30,000 apiece.
While Paras, Gyanendra and Basanta were ignored for the tour as the trio are in the process of leaving for Canadian to play cricket league there, other national team regulars — Shubash Khakurel, Sharad Vesawkar and Rahul Kumar BK — have been rested. “Shubash, Sharad and Rahul are undergoing rehabilitation to injuries they sustained during the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division-III Tournament,” informed CAN general secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel.
On the inclusion of the junior players Pyakurel said: “Ideally it would have been been better for a full strength senior side to compete in Dehradun keeping in mind our preparation for the 2013 World Twenty20 Qualifier and 2014 World Cup Qualifier . But the situation has allowed the juniors to earn good exposure playing against tough opponents.”
Nepal earned the ICC World Cup Qualifier berth by virtue of reaching the ICC WCL Div-III Tournament final in Bermuda, the event they eventually won defeating Uganda in final. Top two teams from the 10-team Qualifier, to be held in early 2014 in New Zealand, will earn tickets to the 2015 World Cup. Along with the top two teams, third and fourth-place finisher will also win ODI status.
Before the New Zealand event, Nepal will compete in the 16-team World Twenty20 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates in November. Top six teams will qualify for the 2014 World Twenty20 tournament.