Nepali cricket, UAE and trail of coincidences
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on बिहिवार, नोभेम्बर 19, 2009
By: Binod pandey
Republica, Kathmandu, Nov 19:
Nepali national cricket team is optimistic about ending the title drought in the ACC T-20 Cup to be held in UAE on November 20. The reason: the trail of coincidences that links many Nepali cricketers to the gulf country.
UAE is not foreign to Coach Roy Luke Dias. The Sri-Lankan had created a historical record in UAE with unbeaten 65 runs in the One Day International against Pakistan in 1982. It was the first time when a Sri Lankan player had scored half a century in ODI.
From the very first day he took the charge of Nepali team, Dias is eying for victory in major knockout tournaments. Dias will surely spare no effort to register victory for the Nepali team. If Nepal wins the cup in UAE, the achievement would mean nothing less to him than his own feat in Sharjah.
Likewise, UAE means a lot to Nepali batsman Sharad Vesawkar. The Dubai born batsman had an international debut for Nepali U-15 team in U-15 Asia Cup in 2002. That the ACC T-20 cup is being held in UAE might not seem to him a mere coincidence. Sharad had scored 106 runs against Qatar in Sharjah during the tournament. It is the maiden century by Nepali players in UAE till date.
Paras Khadka and Mahesh Chhetri also had an international debut against Malaysia in UAE and had played the same tournament — U-15 Asia Cup. Paras, who was the vice captain then is now the caption of the Nepali team.
Former Captains Binod Das and Paresh Lohani along with Mehboob Alam also had played their first international match in UAE. Binod, Paresh and Mehboob had played their first match from the national squad in the Third ACC trophy in 2000. Another happenstance, the match was against UAE. After the tournament, this trio has been a regular in the national squad.
Wicket-keeper batsman Binod Bhandari and batsman Naresh Budhaair are picked for the first time in national squad and they are waiting to debut in the very land UAE.
Dipendra Chaudhary is the senior-most player in Nepali squad and what a coincidence his debut was against UAE. Dipendra had bowling figure of six for 49 in the match played on the ground of Engineering Campus, Pulchowk Kathmandu in 1998. It is the best bowling figure for Nepali debutant till date.
Likewise, Vice-captain Gyanendra Malla and left-arm pacer Amrit Bhattarai also played their first international tournament in UAE. Gyanendra and Amrit were two important players in the Nepali side that won the ACC U-15 Cup in 2005. Gyanendra scored 73 runs against UAE during the tournament and won the man of the match trophy. It was the first U-15 title Nepal had won under the leadership of Dias. Manjoor Alam Khan was deputy to Dias in the tournament four years ago. Manjoor is assistant coach this time around.
Naresh Kumar Shrestha, manager of the national team at present, is managing the team for the second time. Shrestha was manager of the Nepali team in ACC U-19 Cup 1999 held in Singapore. Nepal had reached the finals of the tournament and opened the door to ICC U-19 World Cup for the first time under his management.
Nepal had won ACC U-17 to clean sweep all age group tournaments organized by ACC last year. Nepali national team, however, has not been able to put up a good show in major knockout tournaments organized by ACC.