Cricket team off to Pakistan

Kathmandu, August 5 :

The Nepali senior cricket team today left for Pakistan to play three friendly matches in Karachi as the final preparation for the ACC Trophy, slated for Kuala Lumpur from August 14. Jeevan Ram Shrestha, member secretary of National Sports Council, bade farewell the the team.

The squad will play three friendly matches in Karachi before leaving for Kuala Lumpur to participate in the ACC Trophy, which can open doors for Nepal to qualify for the 2011 World Cup. Nepal would qualify for the second division qualifying tournament if they win the ACC Trophy or they will have to finish at least third if Oman and UAE — who have already qualified as last year’s finalists — reach the final.

Skipper Binod Das was confident of his squad. “We have been playing good cricket for the last one year and we all are in form this time around,” said Das before the team’s departure at Tribhuvan International Airport.

Nepal are drawn in the Group C along with Bhutan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, and Kuwait. Group A consists of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Brunei and Malaysia, while Oman, Maldives, Bahrain and Singapore are in Group B. Qatar, Afghanistan, Iran, Thailand and Indonesia are in Group D.

Nepal will open their campaign on August 14 with a match against Bhutan, while they play Hong Kong two days later. Nepal will take on Kuwait on August 18 and Myanmar on August 20. The quarter-finals will be held on August 23, while the semi-finals are slated for August 24 and 25. The final will be held on August 27.

In the last edition, Nepal was ousted by Qatar in the quarter-finals dashing their hopes of qualifying for the ICC Cup in Ireland, which sent five nations in 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

SQUAD: Binod Das (captain), Shakti Prasad Gauchan (vice captain), Paresh Prasad Lohani, Dhirendra Bahadur Chand, Mahesh Chhetry, Raj Kumar Pradhan, Sharad Vesawkar, Gyanendra Malla, Paras Khadka, Basanta Regmi, Akash Gupta, Manoj Baisya, Raju Basnyat, Mehboob Alam, Thakur Pratap Thapa (manager), Asha Gurung (assistant manager), Roy Luke Dias (coach), Jung Bahadur Thapa (assistant coach).