Kathmandu, March 26, 2017: A 20-member Nepali cricket team today left for Bangladesh to take part in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup to be held at four venues from March 27.
Nepal are pitted in Group B along with U-23 teams of Test playing nations Bangladesh and Pakistan and national team of Hong Kong. Nepal will take on Pakistan U-23 in their opening match at Sheikh
Kamal International Cricket Stadium in Cox’s Bazar on March 27 before facing the hosts the following day. Nepal will play against Hong Kong in their last group match on March 30.
Similarly, Group A comprises of Afghanistan, Malaysia as well as U-23 teams from India and Sri Lanka. Matches of Group A will be played at the Zahur Ahmed Stadium in Chittagong. The semi-final matches are scheduled for April 1 and the final will be played on April 3.
In the absence of regular skipper Paras Khadka, who opted out due to health issues, Gyanendra Malla will lead the team, while Sharad Vesawkar has been named the vice-captain. Binod Bhandari, Sagar Pun, Arif Sheikh, Mahaboob Alam, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sandeep Lamichhane, Asif Sheikh, Avinash Karn, Sunil Dhamala, Bhuwan Karki, Sushan Bhari, Dipesh Shrestha and Dilip Nath are the other members of the team. Asif, Bhari, Shrestha and Nath are new faces in the squad.
Head coach Jagat Tamatta, assistant coach Mahesh Rijal, physiotherapist Dinesh Bhatta, team manager Raman Shiwakoti and official Suraj Shakya also accompanied the players to Bangladesh. National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista bade farewell to the team at a programme. “The players have both opportunity and challenge in Bangladesh and I hope they will put up a good show in the competition,” said Bista.
Head coach Tamatta said the tournament was a good platform for the new players to showcase their talents. “This is golden opportunity for new players as we have included them in the squad with an aim of strengthening our bench. I hope they will perform to their potential,” said Tamatta. Skipper Malla said Nepali squad comprised of young players and the tournament would be the best platform for them to get exposure. “Young players will get opportunities to play against Bangladesh and Pakistan and that will be a good experience for them,” said Malla.