Women cricketers leave for KL

Kathmandu, July 8:

The 17-member Nepali cricket squad today left for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to take part in the first ACC Women’s Cricket Tournament scheduled for July 11-18 in Johorbaru.

Nary Thapa of Nepalgunj will lead the team in its first international competition. Nitu Thapa of Bhairahawa was named as Nary’s deputy.

Other players are Mamata Thapa, Manisha Rawal, Binu Budha Magar, Keshari Chaudhary, Trishna Singh and Sita Rana of Nepalgunj, Nira Rajopadhyaya of Kathmandu, Saraswati Lamgade, Madhu Thapa and Susmita Chaudhary of Bhairahawa and Maya Rawat and Ritu Kanaujiya of Baitadi.

Junga Bahadur Thapa, former national team skipper Lekh Bahadur Chhetry and Pabitra Raut are nominated the coach, manager and assistant manager respectively.

Nepal is drawn in Group A along with Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.

Bangladesh, China, Singapore and UAE are in Group B. Nepal will open the campaign against Thailand on July 12, before playing back to back matches against Malaysia (July 14) and Hong Kong (July 15).

Coach Thapa was optimistic of the team and said that Nepal had a fair chance to lift the championship.

“I was not that satisfied with the players’ performance during the first few days, but they have improved a lot,” said Thapa, who also coached Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) in the Women’s Selection Tournament organised by CAN last month.

“The players were raw, but the three practice matches during the closed camp helped them a lot and they can now fight,” he said.

Thapa also said that the bowling and fielding were the strength of the team. Coach Thapa considers batting as the team’s weakness. “We have got a couple of good batswomen and what we need is a good partnership from them,” he added.

Skipper Nary Thapa, who is also the national badminton player and represented Nepal in the 10th South Asian Games (SAG) held in Sri Lanka last year, hoped that the team would do well in Malaysia.

Manager LB Chhetry, who is largely responsible for the development of women cricket in Nepal, said that the team’s first priority would be to perform at its level best. “These players are raw and I think this tournament will help them gain maturity,” he said.

Member secretary of National Sports Council Jeevan Ram Shrestha and acting president of Cricket Association of Nepal Sriharsha Koirala among others bade farewell to the squad.