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Ishan Pandey, Kushal Malla sneak into national team

Sep 19, 2019 | CN Staff |

Skipper Paras Khadka and hard-hitting Binod Bhandari were only two senior most as Nepal on Thursday announced a 15-member national cricket team for the upcoming Twenty20 International tours of Singapore and Oman bringing in youngsters Ishan Pandey and Kushal Malla.

Nepal are participating in a Tri-nation Twenty20 International Series involving hosts Singapore and Zimbabwe from September 25 to October 4. From Singapore, Nepal will then head to Oman for a five-nation Series that includes the hosts, Ireland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

Both the tournaments are organised in the build-up to the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Global Qualifiers scheduled for October and November in the United Arab Emirates. Nepal, however, have failed to make it to the Global Qualifiers.

In a bid to provide exposure to the youngsters, Nepal have rested seniors Sharad Vesawkar and Basanta Regmi with only Paras and Bhandari only being the two seniors. Bhandari made debut for Nepal in 2009 through the ACC Twenty20 Cup in the UAE where Paras led the senior side for the first time.

Paras made his debut for the national team with the 2004 ICC Intercontinental Cup 3-day match against Malaysia at the TU grounds. Gyanendra Malla, the other senior player in the Nepal team, had already withdrawn his name citing personal reasons.

Paras will now lead a team which is now preparing to become the country's fourth generation of cricketers playing the game internationally. Dipendra Singh Airee, whose cricket blossomed after the 2016 ICC U-19 World Cup in Dhaka, has been named Paras' deputy in absence of Gyanendra.

Ishan, a left handed batsman, was also the part of the Nepali youth team in Dhaka and now awaits an opportunity of his life time on the back of impressive performance in some domestic tournaments. Kushal, impressed during last season's Everest Premier League while playing for Sharad's Bhairahawa Gladiators, also made it through directly from the U-19 team squad.

In the recently held ACC U-19 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, Kushal played some important cameos and has also been a decent left arm spinner. The squad also sees the return of Aarif Sheikh, Sushan Bhari Shrestha and Sundeep Jora. After a lean patch, Jora had found his form back in the U-19 Asia Cup where he slammed half century against Bangladesh and made crucial runs agains the UAE.

Other members in Nepal's 15-member team included Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Pawan Sarraf, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rohit Kumar Paudel and Abinash Bohora.


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