Lerwill praises Nepali players, crowd

Kathmandu, March 25:

Former Hampshire cricketer ATD Lerwill, who is the player-cum-manager of the touring Merylebone Cricket Club (MCC) team, praised Nepali players for their quality skills.

“The standard is high and that is because of the energy and freshness of the players in the team,” said Lerwill, who played county cricket for Hampshire between 1967-70 before joining the British Army. Now a retired Lt Col, Lerwill also played for Army Combine Services and Hong Kong during his days in the army.

“The senior players have lots of potential and the U-17 boys are also equally good and they will be even better when they step out in the national side,” he told The Himalayan Times. “I heard that the players here play handful of tournaments and despite that the standard is remarkable,” he said. He said the Nepali players grow further with boarder experience if they play more matches within the country itself. “You don’t need to go out and play with other teams for that,” he said.

Lerwill said he was impressed with the standard of bowling and fielding of the Nepali players.

“They get the line and length correct every time they bowl,” he said. “In the Twenty20 match on Tuesday, we lost due to the runs saved by the fielders,” argued Lerwill.

Lerwill also had high regards for the Nepali batsman. “Everyone has lovely stroke; obviously well-coached,” he said, adding, “They let themselves down in shot selection.” He also said the batsmen should score regularly.

“They have the potential but got to score regularly,” Lerwill said giving examples of Paresh Lohani and Sharad Vesawkar, who scored in one match and failed in the next.

Lerwill said he and the MCC team members were concerned with the players getting out of cricket early. “We are surprised to know that cricketers here go out after the age of 20, which hurts the development of the sport. After reaching 20, they must play for at least another 5-6 years,” he opined.

Lerwill also admired Nepal’s national coach Roy Luke Dias. “He is a good coach and he has got the right ideas,” Lerwill said of the former Sri Lankan Test player. Asked about the training camp the MCC members conducted for the junior players, Lerwill said the coaching team was impressed with the U-17 boys. “They are good players and Prithu (Baskota) is the one we identified as the best with lots of potential,” he said.

“We could not meet Under-15 players because of the change in schedule but the little boys we met at the Army School were good,” he added. “They know cricket and most importantly they were interested in the game of cricket,” he said. He also praised the spectators. “Crowd here knows about cricket and that is good for the game,” he added.