Under-15 squad leaves for UAE

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 8:

The Nepali Under-15 cricketers today left for the United Arab Emirates to take part in the ACC Under-15 Asia Cup to be held there from April 11-22.

Caretaker member secretary of the dissolved National Sports Council and president of Cricket Association of Nepal Jai Kumar Nath Shah bid farewell to the squad, led by CAN assistant secretary Laxman Prasad Bastola. Sashi Keshari, star of Nepal’s one-wicket victory over South Africa in the Under-19 World Cup held in Bangladesh last year, is leading the side in the 16-team tournament.

The 16-team tournament features Nepal, Qatar, Afghanistan, Iran, UAE, Kuwait, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Brunei, Bhutan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Oman, and Bahrain.

Nepal will be based in Abu Dhabi and will open their campaign with a match against Qatar on April 11. They will face Afghanistan on April 14 and Iran on April 17.

The top two teams from all the four pools will advance to the semi-finals. Nepal’s record in the last edition of the tournament was good.

They lost just two matches against Test playing nations. Nepal lost to India in the super sixes, and were beaten by eventual winners Pakistan in the semi-finals.

“We have a strong side with five players having international experience, and we should win this tournament,” said a confident coach Roy Luke Dias, who said Gyanendra Malla would be

the key batsman of the squad.

“As we are not going to play against Test playing nations, I hope the boys will keep Nepal’s flag flying,” he added.

Manager Bastola on the other hand had doubts about the batting. “Our bowlers have done extremenly well, but the batting is little suspect,” he said.

SQUAD: Sashi Keshari (captain), Gyanendra Malla (vice captain), Anil Mandal, Antim Thapa, Sagar Khadka, Rom Shrestha, Dipen Shrestha (Wicketkeeper), Amrit Pokhrel, Angel Acharya, Sharad Pokhrel, Amrit Bhattarai, Chandra Saud, Subash Jaiswal and Lal Bahadur Adhikari. Laxman Prasad Bastola (manager), Pradeep Karki (assistant manager), Roy Luke Dias (coach) Himal Raj Giri (umpire).