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Sheikh brothers make the cut

ICC WCLC games against Kenya

Kathmandu, Februar 22, 2017: Sheikh brothers Aarif and Aasif are closing in on dream spots at the national cricket team as the ICC Selection Committee on Tuesday announced a 19-member squad for final round of closed-camp for Nepal’s ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) home matches against Kenya.

Nepal take on Kenya at the TU Stadium on March 11 and 13 in their fifth round matches of the WCLC, the gateway to 2019 50-over World Cup qualifiers. The Selection Committee is headed by

ICC Representative Venakatapathy Raju along with national team head coach Jagat Tamatta and skipper Paras Khadka.

The 19-member squad will now undergo further training in Greater Noida where they will also play at least three practice matches against the local side. After the last round of closed-camp, a 14-member final squad will be selected. Khadka will skip the Noida tour to recuperate from abdominal pain but will be fit to play against Kenya.

Sheikh brothers can become Nepal’s second sibling pair to represent the country together if they sneak into the final 14-member squad. Shrestha brothers Manjeet and Yunil had represent Nepal in an international tournament in the past.

While Kushal Bhurtel, Bikram Sob, Sushan Bhari Shrestha, Amit Shrestha and Dipesh Shrestha failed to make the cut for the 19-member squad, it saw the return of unpredictable allrounder Mehboob Alam, newcomers Dilip Nath and Dipendra Singh Airee.

Other members in the squad include vice-captain Gyanendra Malla, Karan KC, Sagar Pun, Bhuwan Karki, Sunil Dhamala, Sharad Vesawkar, Shakti Gauchan, Basant Regmi, Sompal Kami, Avinash Karn, Rajesh Pulami Magar, Binod Bhandari and Sandeep Lamichhane.

The team will leave for Greater Noida on February 24 to play three practice matches before returning home on March 3. “We have already confirmed a match against Rajasthan, while matches against Afghanistan ‘A’ and Indian Airlines are also in the pipeline,” said coach Jagat Tamatta.

Nepal are currently in the sixth-spot of the eight-team WCLC with six points from eight matches. The top four teams after the home and away round robin league will automatically secure spots in next year’s World Cup Qualifiers.

Netherlands currently lead the standings with 16 points from 10 games after five rounds, Papua New Guinea are second with 12 points. Hong Kong (11), Scotland (11), Kenya (eight) are next in the order. Behind Nepal are Namibia (two) and United Arab Emirates (two). Nepal will play Hong Kong and the UAE after meeting Kenya with the team needing to win all remaining matches to have any realistic chance of reaching the Qualifiers.