Kathmandu, June 30:

Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Graeme Lade presented Under-19 cricket captain Kanishka Chaugain with a cricket bat that was signed by Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting at a programme today.

The bat was made available by a foundation established by Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) in 2001 to provide small scale support to community groups and development projects in Australia and overseas, the Australian Embassy said.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Lade said that the bat was one of the many signed by Ponting to assist the SMEC Foundation by providing the bats for distribution to emerging players in Asain region and beyond. “Ponting requested that the bats be presented to the young players to encourage them to continue playing cricket as far as their talents permit,” Lade said, adding that the Australian skipper also requested to ask the players to use the bats instead of displaying them. Wishing Chaugain a successful career, Lade said that the presentation of the bat was a tribute to the enthusiasm for cricket in Nepal and the efforts made by the Cricket Association of Nepal and the Asian Cricket Council to develop the game in the country.

Himalaya Pande, the SMEC representative in Nepal, read out Ponting’s message to Chaugain wishing him a bright career ahead. Former Sri Lankan Test international and Nepali national team coach Roy Luke Dias, CAN vice-president TB Shah were also present on the occasion.