National team announced

Kathmandu, June 30

A three-member team led by head coach Umesh Patwal announced the final squad for the ICC World Twenty20 Asia Finals Qualifiers slated for July 20-28, here today.

In the absence of Cricket Association of Nepal, whose membership is suspended by the International Cricket Council since 2015, the ICC had been announcing the Nepal squad. But after the appointment of Patwal, a three-member team of the head coach, national team captain Paras Khadka and team manager Raman Shiwakoti announced the players amidst a press meet.

The team, however, was selected by three-member panel —ICC representative Aminul Islam, head coach Patwal and skipper Khadka. Khadka will lead the team which is gunning for the second World T20, while Abhinash Bohara, Basant Regmi, Binod Bhandari, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gyanendra Malla, Karan KC and Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi have been picked up in the final 14-member squad.

Rohit Kumar Paudel and Pawan Sarraf — who are also in the U-19 team that left for Malaysia today to participate in the ACC U-19 Eastern Region — also found their names in the senior team along with Pradeep Airee, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sharad Vesawkar and Sompal Kami.

Likewise four players — Kushal Bhurtel, Jitendra Kumar Mukhiya, Sushan Bhari and Md Arif Sheikh — have been kept as reserves.

Skipper Khadka said the team was well prepared for the tournament and was hungry for win as well. “We have been playing regular cricket off late and the preparation was also satisfactory for the tournament,” said Khadka. “The players were selected as per the performance of the last one year and we are determined as a team,” he added.

Khadka said the tournament was important one as there were lots of cricket events for the next three years. “We are building up slowly and we have enough time to get ready for the tournament in Singapore.

We are going to Malaysia to play two T20 International matches and that will also help in acclimatising as well. Being the highest ranked team than other nations, we will be under pressure to do well. And there is always high expectation back home,” he added.

The team will leave for Kuala Lumpur on July 9 to play twomatch Twenty20 International series against Malaysia at the Kinrara Academy Oval in July 13-14. The team will then travel to Singapore on July 20. Five teams — Nepal, Singapore, Kuwait, Malaysia and Qatar — will compete in the Regional Finals Qualifiers. Nepal will open the campaign with a match against Qatar on July 23 at the Indian Association Ground before facing Malaysia the next day. Nepal will take on Kuwait on July 28 and wrap the campaign against hosts Singapore.

The winners of the Regional Finals will earn berth in the global qualifiers to be held in October and November in the United Arab Emirates.

A total of 14 teams will compete in the global qualifiers with top six sides joining hosts Australia and nine others — Pakistan, India, England, South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh — in the 16- team ICC T20 World Cup to be held next year in Australia.