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U-19 Asia Cup: An opportunity to heal the World Cup-no show wound

Aug 22, 2019 | CN Staff |

The Nepali U-19 camp was devastated when a painful one-run defeat at the hands of the United Arab Emirates in Malaysia cost them a spot in the 2020 U-19 World Cup in South Africa.The U-19 World Cup would have provided Nepali youngsters with a huge amount of exposure against top teams and an opportunity showcase their cricketing talent at a higher level. But the camp was left ruing the missed chance after rain put the UAE ahead by just one run while they were 122-3 in 30 overs, while chasing Nepal's 247 all out in 50 overs.

The ACC U-19 Asia Cup now remains the only tournament where Nepal can redeem themselves from the World Cup-no show disappointment. "For us, more than anybody else, we will have a point to prove," said Das indicating that his side was eager to heal the wound in Sri Lanka when the tournament begins from September 5.

"We always believed that we were one of the better teams in the Asia Qualifier but sadly we couldn't qualify. We all understand the pain within ourself that we were a team that deserved qualification. The only way to answer all those questions is to play well (in Sri Lanka) and prove we were good enough to be there. It was just one odd that day we couldn't cross the hurdle," he added.   

Nepal's best showing in the U-19 Asia Cup was in 2017 when they reached the semi-finals of the tournament with a stunning victory over Rahul Dravid's Indian side making the progress even sweeter. It so far is Nepal's only historical win over any Indian team in any format of the game.

They were close to defeating Sri Lanka in 2016 only to lose that game to the hosts by one run in chase of 228. Aasif Sheikh, Pawan Sarraf and Kamal Singh Airee are the only three survivors from that team holding the memory of another one-run loss, but a graceful one, when the two teams clash again in the first match on the opening day.

Nepal will have a lot to do in leaving their World Cup disappointment behind as Bangladesh will be another Test side whom they will be playing against. "Its not going to be easy because a team like UAE has come a long way continuously playing with the same set of boys for two years. There might be problems here but what we have is a great bunch of players who are eager to go out there and perform. We will definitely back them to the core and hopefully in this tournament, we will see somebody coming through the ranks," Das said.

"The boys need to have that ego because we have told them that if we are not pride about playing for the country, there is no point in playing because there is nothing else beside that for us. We don't play for the sake of career or anything. We play for the sake of pride and that message has gone into the players well," he added.

Nepal head towards Sri Lanka under a young but an experienced skipper in Rohit Kumar Paudel who has been in the national team system for more than a year. Aasif, Sarraf, Sundeep Jora and Bhim Sharki have all tasted how it feels to be in the national team, while fast bowlers Airee and Rashid Khan have enjoyed a tough competition in the franchise tournaments at home.

Rohit believed that it’s the senior players who will have to make the most of this opportunity. "Its unfortunate that we couldn't qualify for the World Cup and the Asia Cup now is the only tournament from where they can knock doors of the national team because its going to be their last age group tournament," said Rohit adding his side is capable to trouble test nations.

"I think we are balanced because there are few players who have already represented the senior national team and overall six or seven players with a huge amount of experience. If we give our 100 percent, we can make life difficult for any team," Rohit said.

Nepal had previously proposed a lengthy preparation camp for the Asia Cup but the International Cricket Council rejected the initial proposal. Instead a 12-day camp in Sri Lanka ahead of the tournament was lately approved. Apurva Desai, who has already worked with Nepali cricketers at different time frame, will join the squad in Sri Lanka as batting consultant.

NEPALI SQUAD

Rohit Kumar Paudel (Captain)

Rit Gautam

Pawan Sarraf

Aasif Sheikh

Sundeep Jora

Bhim Sharki

Hari Bahadur Chauhan

Kushal Malla

Rasid Khan

Kamal Singh Airee

Sagar Dhakal

Khadak Bahadur Bohara

Surya Tamang

Lokesh Bahadur Bam

Pratis GC

 

Support Staff

Raju Khadka (Manager)

Binod Kumar Das (Head Coach)

Apurva Desai (Batting Consultant)

Vikram Nyaupane (Physio)

Subash Patro (Trainer)



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