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Cricket dominates NSJF Pulsar Sports Award nominations

May 14, 2018 | Parbati Lama |

A debut in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday, player of the series in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia and 84 wickets in a single calendar year. Teen leg spin prodigy Sandeep Lamichhane has more to boast about after he was nominated in three categories of the Pulsar Sports Award – the most decorated and awaited award of the country.

Sandeep, who was already named in the People’s Choice Category which will be decided through SMS voting, facebook likes and points from coaches and sports journalists, has found himself in the Player of Year Male and Youth categories as cricket dominated the nominations announced by organisers Nepal Sports Journalists Forum.

For Player of the Year Male, Sandeep will battle with his own skipper Paras Khadka who led Nepal to One Day International status after the country finished eighth in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. Paras was also the key performer for Nepal in Division 2 becoming the leading run getter of the tournament. He also led Team Chauraha Dhangadhi to Dhangadi Premier League and Biratnagar Warriors to Everest Premier League Twenty20 titles.

Sandeep, meanwhile, had had a sensation Nepali year taking 35 wickets for the senior national team and 49 for the youth side. His performance was instrumental in guiding Nepal to their first ever ACC U-19 Asia Cup semi-finals in Malaysia where the team stunned favourites India for the country’s first ever victory over the Test giants at any level in cricket.

His 24 wickets in the ICC Asia U-19 World Cup Qualifier is so far a record for any Nepali bowler in a single tournament. While he took 17 wickets to be named the best player of Division 2, Sandeep’s figures of 5-20 from 10 overs against Kenya in Namibia is Nepal’s best bowling performance in List A.

Dipesh Dhami (badminton), Indra Bahadur Shrestha (judo) and Tanka Bahadur Karki (golf) are other three nominees for male player of the year category.

Sandeep’s U-19 skipper Dipendra Singh Airee is the other nominee in the Player of the Year Youth after leading Nepal into the U-19 Asia Cup semis. Dipendra had a brilliant allround display in the do-or-die clash against India making 88 runs and picking up five wickets. He was also the second highest scorer for Nepal in the World Cup Qualifiers with 143 runs.

Dipendra also performed in a crunch match against Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the Qualifiers picking up four wickets and making a half century that sealed Nepal ODI status. He also led Nepal to the ACC U-19 Eastern Region title. Manita Shrestha Pradhan (judo), Dinesh Henjan (football) and Punam Rawal (boxing) are other nominees in the youth category.

The coach of the year category also saw two nominations from cricket with senior national team coach Jagat Tamatta and U-19 head coach Binod Das on a collision course. While Tamatta guided Nepal to ODI status and a runners-up finish in Division 2, under Das Nepal reached U-19 Asia Cup semi-finals and Eastern Region title.

Chhiring Lhopsang Gurung (football), Prakash Thapa Magar (boxing) and Jayant Kumar Shrestha (badminton) are other nominees in the category. The women’s player of the year category included nominations of Sabitra Bhandari (football), Gyanu Awale (archery), Nabita Shrestha (table tennis), Shova Gauchan (badminton) and Bimala Shrestha (boxing).  

NSJF players’ selection committee headed by Raju Ghising had selected the players on the basis of their performance in the last Nepali year. The Pulsar Sports Award also includes para-athlete of the year, special award and lifetime achievement award whose winners will be directly announced during the award gala which has been set for May 17 this year.


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