HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Coach Pubudu Dassanayake and skipper Prithu Baskota were hopeful of a better show in Australia as the team left for Australia to participate in the ICC Under-19 World Cup slated for August 11-26 in Queensland.
Nepal are up against hosts Australia and England along with fellow associate nation Ireland and Prithu said the pressure will be on the cricketing giants. “I think the pressure will be on Australia and England as they the favourites,” said Prithu, after the farewell programme at the National Sports Council.
“If we get a good start we can beat any team and any thing can happen in Under-19 level. The Test-playing nations always like to avoid upsets and they will be under pressure,” he added. Prithu said the team preparation was good but not satisfactory. “We could not prepare ourselves fully because of certain restrictions here. We have eight days to make ourselves ready for the big stage and we will try our best to take the maximum out of the conditioning camp and practice matches in Australia before entering the tournament,” he added.
Nepal will be based in Darwin for eight days in a conditioning camp. The team will also play two practice matches with local clubs before playing the official practice matches against Papua New Guinea (August 7) and New Zealand (August 8).
This is Nepal’s sixth participation in the U-19 World Cup and they have lifted the Plate Championship once and have entered the Super League stage on one occasion. “All will depend on pitch behaviour and playing conditions, which we will find out once we reach there. The eight-day camp will help us in acclimatisation and amend our mistakes,” added Prithu.
Asked about the key players who were able to turn the match around, Prithu said the team will heavily rely on spin bowlers — Rahul (BK), Sagar (Pun) and Bhuwan (Karki) — along with opening batsmen Subash (Khakurel) and Pradeep (Airee). “The key for us in batting will be to get a good start from openers and sensible cricket from middle order,” he said.
Coach Dassanayake said the result would depend on the performance of the individuals on the particular day. “The boys have skills and ability but the most important part is that they should believe in themselves,” said the former Sri Lankan Test player. “We have chances to advance to the Super League and if we get significant contributions from the players we will definitely go one step ahead,” he added.
The Sri Lanka-born Canadian was positive on the team’s preparation. “We did our best despite the restrictions, thanks to the ground staff who did fabulous job to provide us the facilities,” he said. “The remaining assessment of the players will be done in Australia and we will correct our mistakes from the four practice matches and hope to perform well in the tournament,” he added. The Nepal coach, however, said he would miss the services of three seamers — Avinash Karn, Ram Naresh Giri and Saurav Khanal — who will be flying to Australia after a week as they are yet to get visa approvals.
Earlier, Member Secretary of National Sports Council Yubaraj Lama, senior Vice-President of Cricket Association of Nepal TB Shah and General Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel bade farewell to the team. Jagat Tamatta is the assistant coach, while CAN Member Kiran SJB Rana is the team manager. Assistant manager Sunil Man Amatya and technical analyst Raman Siwakoti were rejected the travelling visa by the Australian Embassy.
SQUAD: Prithu Baskota (skipper), Pradeep Airee (vice-captain), Rajesh Pulami Magar, Sagar Pun, Naresh Budhayer, Krishna Karki, Avinash Karn, Faizlur Rahman, Bhuwan Karki, Hasim Ansari, Subash Khakurel, Rahul BK, Gopal Kumar Singh, Saurav Khanal and Ram Naresh Giri.