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Cricket wins four out of eight honours in Pulsar Sports Award

May 17, 2018 | Parbati Lama |

Skipper Paras Khadka was named the best player and leg spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane was the youth player of the year as cricket dominated the Pulsar Sports Award on Thursday. 

Cricket won four out of eight categories when Jagat Tamatta was named the coach of the year and Karan KC walked away with special award for the innings he played against Canada in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 in Namibia.

Paras won the award for a record fourth time for leading Nepal to One Day International glory. He led the team with example in Division 2 where he was the highest scorer of the tournament and also notched up his second List 'A' century. 

The national team captain was also the leading run getter in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe where Nepal had finished eighth to become the youngest member in the ODI club. Paras had hit half centuries against Scotland and Afghanistan in the Qualifiers. 

He also led Team Chauraha Dhangadhi to Dhangadhi Premier League and Biratnagar Warriors to Everest Premier League titles. "This is a big honour. It had been a year of cricket for Nepal and we assure that this will motivate us to do better in coming days," said Paras. 

Sandeep was also one of the nominees in the player of the year male category. Dipesh Dhami of badminton, Indra Bahadur Shrestha of judo and Tanka Karki of golf were other nominees. 

Leg spinner Sandeep capped a memorable Nepali calendar year picking up 84 wickets -- 35 of them for the national team. He was named the man-of-the-series in Division 2 in Namibia where he picked up 17 wickets.

Before the Namibia event, Sandeep was roped in by Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Delhi Daredevils. He had also taken 24 wickets in the ICC Asia U-19 World Cup Qualifying tournament becoming a bowler taking maximum wickets in a single tournament for Nepal.

Poonam Rawal of boxing, Manita Shrestha Pradhan of judo, U-19 captain Dipendra Singh Airee and Dinesh Henjan were other nominees in the youth category. Sandeep was also nominated in the People's Choice category but table tennis player Santoo Shrestha got the better of him collecting 51 percent of the total votes.

Maan Bahadur Shrestha of volleyball, Pratima Sherpa of golf and Kiran Chemjong of football were oher nominees in the People's Choice category. 

Nepal became the ODI nation under the guidance of Tamatta. It was second coach of the year award for Tamatta who had last won in 2012 after leading Nepal to ICC U-19 World Cup. He also became the second coach to win the award twice emulating former national team coach Pubudu Dassanayake. 

Under Tamatta Nepal ended up runners-up in Division 2 and eighth in Zimbabwe Qualifiers. Those achievements were enough or Tamatta to win the award ahead of U-18 football team coach Chhiring Lhopsang Gurung, U-19 cricket team coach Binod Das, Prakash Thapa Magar of boxing and Jayant Krishna Shrestha of badminton.

Karan had laid the foundation for Nepal to become an ODI nation after he did the unthinkable by saving the country from a seemingly defeat against Cananda in Division 2. Chasing 195 for victory, Nepal were at the brink of defeat at 144-9 with the Canadians already celebrating their victory. 

But Karan stepped in and together with Sandeep shared a match-winning 51-run unbeaten partnership for the last wicket handing Nepal a victory in the last ball. His 31-ball 42 not out was laced with four sixes and three boundaries.

In other categories, Shova Gauchan of badminton won the female player of the year and former footballer and coach Ashok KC was honoured with lifetime achievement. The national wheelchair basketball and cricket team captain Himal Aryal was feted with para-athlete of the year. 

The winners in the male, female, coach and people's choice won Pulsar NS motorcycle each and rest of the winners got Rs 50,000 apiece.


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