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Bhandari, Sagar pay the price for not performing

Jan 04, 2018 | Cricketingnepal |

Binod Bhandari and Sagar Pun have finally paid for their extended failures of form. The two big names in the national cricket team have been axed from the preliminary 21-member squad for the upcoming ICC World Cricket League Division 2.

Bhandari and Sagar’s positions in the national team were in scrutiny after the two cricketers continuously failed to contribute to the team especially after the team began to slip in the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC). Nepal had finished seventh in the eight-team WCLC that sent top four teams into the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers.

The WCLC had mostly been about Gyanendra Malla, Paras Khadka and Sharad Vesawkar with the bat as rest of the batting order has usually caved in under pressure situation. With only two under performers left in the team – Bhandari and Sagar – it remained obvious that the duo were sooner or later was going to pay for their poor performance.

While Sagar, who had been modest with the bowl and his fielding effort, was yet to find a specific position in the batting order, Bhandari looked after the middle or lower middle order. Bhandari, however, has made less impact.

His best performance during the duration when Nepal played home and away WCLC was an 84-run unbeaten partnership with Sharad against Namibia at home where he made 40-ball 49 not out on April 16. Sagar’s best came at No 5 position when he made 45 off 78 against the Netherlands in a 118-run partnership with Paras away to the Dutch.

Nepal had won that match by 19 runs becoming the only team to beat eventual champions Netherlands in the WCLC. Sagar’s innings have often looked sluggish considering his physique and the role he needed to play as an aggressor batting as an opener.

The departure of Sagar and Binod now leaves the national team with just five senior faces including skipper Paras, Shakti Gauchan, Sharad Vesawkar, Basanta Regmi and Gyanendra Malla. Sagar and Bhandari also didn’t have the best of the Everest Premier League as Bhandari reached double figures just once in the tournament.

Sagar did look mediocre in the EPL but other performers seem to have won over the Independent Selection Committee. Anil Sah and Rohit Kumar Paudel are among the two best performers who have found their name in the preliminary 21 that also includes the hard-hitting Siddhant Lohani.

Other named in the preliminary squad included Dilip Nath, Sunil Dhamala, Dipendra Singh Airee, Dipesh Shrestha, Karan KC, Kishore Mahato, Lalit Singh Bhandari, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Aarif Sheikh, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sompal Kami and Sushan Bhari.

Seamers Kishore and Rashid have been called up for the first time in the closed-camp in the preliminary squad that is packed with other seamers including Sompal, Lalit Singh Bhandari, Karan and Dipesh.

The Selection Committee headed by ICC Representative Aminul Islam will soon named the final 14-member squad before the team leaves for South Africa to fine tune their preparation for Division 2. Along with hosts Namibia and Nepal, Kenya, Canada, Oman and UAE are the other teams in the tournament which will send the top two teams in the World Cup Qualifiers.


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