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Pokhara Premier League: Who is strongest in terms of foreign recruits?

Dec 12, 2019 | CN Staff |

Namaste Pokhara Premier League, one of the top franchise Twenty20 competitions of Nepal, is around the corner. The tournament kicks off on Saturday with defending champions Pokhara Paltan and Kathmandu Goldens facing off in a curtain raiser.

As foreign recruits have played a significant role in every franchise's display, the second edition of the PPL is once again going to revolve around these international recruits. Sunny Patel was adjudged the player-of-the-series after he guided Rhinos into the final of last edition.

Another foreign recruit Ravi Inder Singh's brilliant 90 was the cornerstone in Paltan's three-wicket victory over Rhinos in the title match. With one more international recruit added, the second edition of the PPL is definitely going to spice up the competition.

Here cricketingnepal.com rates the participating teams according to their foreign recruits and the impact they have put in Nepali cricket so far.

6. Butwal Blaster

Blaster have three Indian cricketers as their foreign recruits who have never featured in Nepali league before. Batsman Aftab Uddin, Harsh Tonk and Shivam Singh are the three international players for Blaster who last season had counted on UAE skipper Rohan Mustafa and his teammate Chirag Suri but finished second from the bottom.

Unknown to others, the three recruit could be mystery for other franchise provided they peak for the Sompal Kami-led side. While Uddin is a pure batsman, Tonk is a part time medium pacer and Singh is an off spinner.

5. Biratnagar Titans

Titans had finished at the bottom of the table last season and this year they will be without their marquee and captain Sandeep Lamichhane. The ace leggie has left for Australia to participate in the Australia Big Bash League with Pradeep Airee taking the leadership responsibility.

Their previous campaign with the bat had revolved around Mohammad Zaid Alam who made 202 runs with three half centuries and the Pakistani U-19 player player has been brought back this season. Puneet Mehra will bolster the Titans side after collecting quite a few experience in the Nepali league while another Pakistani cricket Noman Khan is their next foreign recruit.

4. Pokhara Paltan

Defending champions Paltan have brought back Ravi Inder Singh as the Indian batsman's debut in Nepali league (in PPL) also helped him earn a spot in the Everest Premier League where he slammed a famous century to upstage South African juggernaut Richard Levi of Pokhara Rhinos. Ravi Inder is going to be the mainstay for Paltan who are rich in domestic talent.

This season they have brought in unknown Prathamesh Dake and Parag Khanapurkar making their debut in Nepali league. Right arm medium pace bowler Dake plays for Mumbai in Twenty20s and has 16 wickets from 10 games. Parag comparatively has collected wide experience having played eight List A matches for Mumbai and two Twenty20s.

3. Dhangadhi Blues

Blues were the unlucky club last season after they were thrown out of playoff contest on net run rate after the top four teams were tied on six points. Their first season of the PPL hinged on English county cricketers Peter Trego and Dan Lawrence but it was not yet enough. It was rather their captain Dipendra Singh Airee who had to do a lot taking the team close to playoffs. With Trego and Lawrence not around, Blues seem to have flexed their muscle bringing in two Canadian cricketers and one Indian.

Goa cricketer Amit Yadav is the most experienced foreign recruit in Blues squad having played 36 Twenty20s, 35 List A and 37 First Class matches. The right arm off break bowler has amassed a total 188 wickets collectively in all three formats and the sub-continent condition is definitely going to help him.

Canadian international Srimantha Wijeyeratne is antoher experienced cricketer who has played 38 List A games, nine Twenty20s, six First Class and two Twenty20 Internationals. The former Sri Lankan U-19 cricketer had slammed a century against Nepal during the World Cricket League Division 2 match in Namibia. Rodrigo Thomas will complete the rooster for Blues bringing the experience of playing in the Global Twenty20 Challenge in Canada.

2. Kathmandu Golden Warriors

Gyanendra Malla-led Kathmandu Golden Warriors – who previously were Kathmandu Royals franchise – introduced attacking opening batsman Gaurav Tomar to the came in the PPL. Tomar was a revelation scoring runs at his will taking full use of the small ground at the Pokhara Stadium. That attacking prowess also guided him to Everest Premier League where he played for Gyanendra's Lalitpur Patriots and played a crucial role in handing the latter title.

Tomar and Jaykishan Kolsawala have now become the most dangerous opening pair of Nepali franchise cricket and the Indian duo will continue to put their attacking cricket on disposal for Warriors. Both the batsmen have amassed plenty of runs in Nepali domestic Twenty20 competition giving the bowlers a run for their money. Add hard-hitting batsman and fiery pace bowler Subodh Bhati to the squad, Warriors have now become the team to beat this season after finishing third last year.

1. Chitwan Rhinos

Rhinos had lost to Paltan last year in the final and the defeat still seems to be stinging the franchise who now want to go one better by the recruitment of another big name Rohan Mustafa – the United Arab Emirates skippers. Rohan has played cricket everywhere in Nepal. For Dhangadhi Stars in Dhangadhi Premier League to Kathmandu Kings XI in the Everest Premier League in Kathmandu. The genuine allrounder had played for Butwal Blaster in PPL's last season and will now join Paras Khadka's Rhinos to form a formidable squad this year.

With a team already including two top skippers of Associate cricket, there is another big name in Sunny Patel, another genuine allrounder, who stole the show last year with his man-of-the-series performance. And then there is fan favourite Babar Hayat with his ability to hit biggest of the sixes at even the biggest of the cricket field to leave every bowler gasping. Rhinos mean business this year as there is already a big local name Karan KC in the team to be dealt with.


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