Kathmandu, March 10, 2017: Nepal are sweating on the fitness of their skipper Paras Khadka ahead of their crucial ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) double header against Kenya on March 11 and 13 at the TU Ground.
Khadka underwent surgery after being admitted to Grande hospital in mid-February with a “recurrent appendicitis with intestinal obstruction” and missed Nepal’s tour of Noida, India, recently. Nepal won two of three friendly matches in India. Khadka has since joined the team in Kathmandu and is undergoing light training but doubts remain on his inclusion in the playing XI.
The influential Nepal skipper Khadka, however, said the team is observing his progress and will decide on his role probably on Friday. “I am getting better and the body is responding really well over the last few days,” said Khadka. The Nepal skipper said that even if he is unable to play, Nepal have enough firepower to beat any opposition given that everyone takes their responsibility properly.
Khadka believes that the fallen Associate giants Kenya are at par with Nepal in terms of strength. Kenya have made it to the ICC World Cup five times but their fortune have taken nosedive of late. “Consistency is always key and on our day, we can beat any team,” said Khadka that playing on their own backyard would be a great advantage. Khadka also boasted his side as a balanced one. “We have a mix of youth and experienced players in our squad,” said the skipper. “Its great to see players are fighting for each and every spot.”
Dipendra Singh Airee broke into the senior team, while his U-19 teammate Sunil Dhamala is all set to get the responsibility to open the bat. Veteran allrounder Mehboob Alam and Aarif Sheikh also got the recall for the Kenya games. The WCLC is the gateway to 2019 50-over World Cup qualifiers and Nepal are in the sixth place of the eight-team WCLC with six points from eight matches. Top four teams after the home and away round robin league will automatically secure spots in next year’s World Cup Qualifiers.
The Netherlands 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 the UAE (2). Both Nepal and Kenya are coming up after sharing the points in the previous round.
While Nepal won one and lost another game away to Netherlands in August last year, Kenya also won one and lost another against Hong Kong in November last year.
Nepal coach Jagat Tamatta takes the game as a challenge. “Since we are playing on our own turf we are under pressure to win,” said Tamatta. Tamatta, though, was happy with his team’s preparations leading up to the games where they also played in Noida. Tamatta also believed that the squad was a balanced one. Nepal will play Hong Kong and the UAE after Kenya fixtures with the team needing to record wins in all matches to have any chance of reaching the World Cup Qualifiers.
Teams M W L NR Pts NRR
Netherlands 10 7 1 2 16 +1.270
PNG 8 6 2 0 12 +0.037
Hong Kong 10 5 4 1 11 +0.996
Scotland 8 4 1 3 11 +0.245
Kenya 8 4 4 0 8 +0.014
Nepal 8 3 5 0 6 -0.505
Namibia 8 1 7 0 2 -0.507
UAE 8 1 7 0 2 -1.319