Kathmandu, September 19
Head coach Umesh Patwal and skipper Paras Khadka today announced the national cricket team for the upcoming tours of Singapore and Oman, without the experienced duo Sharad Vesawkar and Basant Regmi.
Allrounder Kushal Malla and batsman Ishan Pandey earned the national team callup for the first time, while Md Aarif Sheikh, Sandeep Jora and Sushan Bhari made their comeback in the squad. Vesawkar and Regmi were omitted from the final squad along with Pradeep Airee, while vice-captain Gyanendra Malla pulled out citing personal reasons. Dipendra Singh Airee has been handed the responsibility of vice-captain.
Other members in the team are Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Binod Bhandari, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Pawan Sarraf, Sandeep Lamichhane, Abinash Bohora and Rohit Kumar Paudel.
Coach Patwal said the best team was selected for the tours with the upcoming 13th South Asian Games in mind. “We have selected the best of the best players and we have decided to give chance to the young players as the next target of the team is the SA Games,” said Patwal, who was seemingly not happy when asked about the axing of Vesawkar and Regmi.
Skipper Khadka said the team wanted to try out a couple of young players in the two tournaments. “There is a lot of competition and obviously some senior players missed out this time around. More than anything else, it’s about that day, that moment and that series. We are giving opportunity to the potential players for next year as we are in World Cup cycle,” said Khadka.
Regarding the exclusion of the senior players, Khadka said no one was permanent. “I will have to go one day and this is the bitter truth in sports. It’s not only about performance, it’s about team building and it’s about the combination of attitude, behaviour, performance and hard work,” said Khadka. “And the door is open for everyone.”
Nepal will play the SCA Tri-nation Twenty20 Series in Singapore slated for September 24 to October 4 before heading to Oman for the five-nation T20 Series scheduled for October 5-10. The tri-series, organised by Singapore Cricket Association, also involves Zimbabwe.
Nepal will open the tri-series campaign with a match against Zimbabwe on September 27 before facing hosts Singapore the following day. The first round will complete after the match between Singapore and Zimbabwe on September 29.
Nepal will then play against Zimbabwe and Singapore on October 1 and October 2 respectively in the second round matches. The tournament will come to an end with the match between Singapore and Zimbabwe. All the matches will be played at the Indian Association Ground.
Nepal will then take part in the Oman Pentangular Series, which also features Hong Kong, Ireland and the Netherlands. Nepal will open the campaign with a match against Hong Kong on October 6 and play against the Netherlands on October 7. Nepal will face Ireland on October 9 and end the tournament with a match against hosts Oman on October 10. All the matches will be played at the Al Emarat Cricket Stadium in Muscat.
A version of this article appears in print on September 20, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.