Youngster Siddhant Lohani was the biggest inclusion as the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) announced a final 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers paving way for forgotten Jitendra Mukhiya, Pradeep Airee and Anil Mandal.
Siddhant, who has only played two matches for Nepal in age group tournament, was the surprise inclusion for many but he had already signaled his arrival to the national fold catching the eye of the selectors with his display of exquisite batting skills during the One Day National Cricket Tournament held in Kathmandu.
The 20 year old Siddhant hails from Birtangar and his ability to play 360 degree shots was the USP for his selection. The squad for the July 9-27 Qualifiers also saw the return of Jitendra, Pradeep and Anil.
Jitendra, out of the national team due to nagging injuries – first hip injury and then typhoid --, last played for Nepal during the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 but was kept out due to injury in future tournaments. Pradeep was named in the World Twenty20 and Asian Games squad but sat out on both occasion. His last appearance for Nepal was during the 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers.
Anil, one of the six Nepali batsmen who have international centuries, was a regular member of the national team until a poor form in the 2015 ICC World Cup Qualifiers saw him lose his place. His last Twenty20 appearance for Nepal was during the 2013 Qualifiers.
Karan KC and Rajesh Pulami Magar, the two revelations of Nepal’s Sri Lanka tour that included a Twenty20 against Hong Kong, have been retained. Skipper Paras Khadka will lead the side with Gyanendra Malla, Subash Khakurel, Som Pal Kami, Shakti Gauchan, Binod Bhandari, Sagar Pun, Sharad Vesawkar and Basanta Regmi being the other members of the team.
Prithu Baskota, Mehboob Alam, Bhuban Karki and Avinash Karn were kept as reserves, while Hari Shankar Sah, Mahesh Chhetri and Saurav Khanal failed to make the cut.