KATHMANDU: Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) today axed five players from the 23 probable candidates undergoing closed camp training for the ACC Twenty20 Cup slated for November 20 to 30 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Puspa Thapa of Region-I (Biratnagar), Anil Mandal of Region-II (Birgunj), Pramod Basnet of Region-III (Kathmandu), Avimanyu Singh of

Region-V (Nepalgunj) and Prem

Budal of Region-VI (Baitadi) were axed from the preliminary squad, said CAN in a release today.

The remaining 18-member squad will continue the next phase of training beginning from Sunday. Among those retained were Dipendra Chaudhary, Paresh Lohani, Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla and Sharad Vesawkar of Kathmandu, Shakti Gauchan, Basanta Regmi, Amrit Bhattarai and Rahul Kumar BK of Region-IV (Bhairahawa), Ajay Rajbanshi, Raj Kumar Pradhan and Mehboob Alam of Biratnagar, Binod Bhandari, Chandra Saud and Naresh Budhayer of Baitadi, Binod Das and Sanjam Regmi of Birgunj, and Mahesh Chhetry of Nepalgunj. Among the 18 players, Ajay, Naresh and Binod are the players to have made it this far in the selection for an international event.

After picking up the final 14 players, the Nepali squad is scheduled to leave for Delhi on November 14 for warm-up matches against the local teams. “We will play one 50 over match and probably four Twenty20 matches with local teams,” informed CAN President Binay Raj Pandey today. Pandey said that the Delhi Cricket Association has arranged the games and will shortly inform about the exact itinerary of their tour. The Nepali team is set to depart for the UAE from Delhi on November 20.

Nepal are pitted against Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia and Bahrain in Group ‘B’. Group ‘A’ comprises of Afghanistan, hosts UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and

China. Top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.

Nepal failed to make it to the semi-finals last year in Kuwait where they beat Oman and Malaysia and lost to Qatar and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the ACC Development Committee meeting held in

Bangkok on October 14-15 has passed the 2010 annual calendar. Pandey,

who is also the member of the Committee, informed that the meeting confirmed Kuwait as the host of the ACC Trophy and Singapore as the U-19 Women’s Championship organisers. The U-19 Women’s Championship is scheduled for September while the ACC Trophy has tentatively been set for April, informed Pandey.