ACC under-19 cup nepal 2005: Teams arriving in City

Kathmandu, November 6:

With just two more days to go, the flow of teams participating in the Asian cricket Council (ACC) Under-19 Cup cricket tournament have started at Tribhuvan International Airport.

The 15-team event, also including hosts Nepal, will start on Monday with the inaugural session at the Tribhuvan University Stadium, while the matches will begin at four different venues from Tuesday. Crown Prince Paras, who is also the parton of the sports governing body in Nepal, National Sports Council, is scheduled to inaugurate the tournament.

The participating 15 nations are divided into four pools and the top two from all the pools will advance to the quarter-finals slated for November 16. Nepal, Brunei and Bahrain are in Group A — the only pool with three teams, while Kuwait, Afghanistan, UAE and Iran are in Pool B. Qatar, Singapore, Oman and Thailand are in Pool C and Malaysia, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Maldives are in Pool D.

Out of the 15 countries, 10 teams hae already arrived in Kathmandu and the rest four are scheduled to reach by tomorrow. The umpires and match officials have already arrived in Kathmandu. The ACC has appointed 11 umpires ncluding one from Nepal — Buddhi Bahadur Pradhan — and five match referees for the event. The other umpires are Zameer haider and Riazuddin of Pakistan; Ranmore Martinez and JWK Boteju of Sri Lanka; Suhas Phadkar, KG Laxminarayan and Jasbir Singh of India; and Nadir Shah, Md Jahangir Alam and Monzur Rahman of Bangladesh.

The match referees appointed by the ACC are three ACC Development officers — Iqbal Sikender (Pakistan), Rumesh Ratnayake (Sri Lanka) and Roger Binny (India) — and Azhar Khan of Pakistana and ASM Roquibul Hassan of Bangladesh.

The first day features four matches. Nepal will begin their title defence with a match against Bahrain at the TU Stadium in Kirtipur. Led by Binod Das, currently the senior team skipper, Nepal won the first edition of the tournament held in Kathmandu in 2001, while Shakti Prasad Gauchan led Nepal to victory in the second edition held in Karachi, Pakistan in 2003 — both times beating Malaysia in final. Nepal has a fair chance to complete a hat-trick in the non-Test playing Asian nations tournament. Kanishka Chaugain, who was one of the members in last year’s squad, leads the ‘dream team’ this year, in which Avay Rana remains the lone player without international experience.

Paras Khadka is the vice captain, while other members are Sharad Vesawkar, Gyanendra Malla, Yeshwant Subedi, Prem Chaudhary, Basanta Regmi, Mahesh Chhetry, Raj Shrestha, Sashi Keshari, Bantu Bataju, Amrit Bhattarai and Ratan Rauniyar. The four players in the reserve list are Akash Gupta, Nirmal Simangaida, Suraj Timilsina and Deepen Shrestha.