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Nepal seek fitting farewell for outgoing head coach Patwal

Feb 04, 2020 | CN Staff |

Already shaken by a sudden resignation of head coach Umesh Patwal, the Nepali national cricket team would look to give the Indian a fitting farewell when they take on Oman and USA in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 Tri-Series that begins from Wednesday.

Although an official statement from the coach himself or the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) is still pending, Patwal is said to have tendered his resignation to the International Cricket Council, which had coordinated with the National Sports Council in absence of the country's cricket governing body to bring him to the post. Patwal, whose tenure began from June 10, 2019, is leaving the Nepali team following the home tri-series.

After earning the One Day International status through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in March, 2018, Nepal are making their ODI debut at home through the League 2 fixtures. Nepal are also making their debut in the League 2 where an improved USA lead the table with 12 points from eight matches having registered six victories.

Oman, whose team comprises of Indian and Pakistani expats, are fourth in the table with eight points from eight games out of which two of their home games were abandoned due to the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.

While USA has climbed up the ladder with inclusions of former South African cricketer Rusty Theron and West Indies' Xavier Marshall, Oman have been consistently doing good in presence of experienced campaigners including skipper Zeeshan Maqsood.

Nepal, on the other hand, are the least prepared team having played just three ODIs in 2019. The only next three 50-over games in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh last year was a List 'A' match where they played U-23 teams of Bangladesh and India along with Hong Kong.

Nepal have spent most of the times last one year playing Twenty20 cricket that began with three-match bilateral series against the UAE in February, 2019. Since then they competed in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Asian Regional Qualifiers, Twenty20 Tri-Series in Singapore, Pentangular Twenty20 Series in Oman and South Asian Games Twenty20.

Gyanendra Malla, the new leader of the team, admitted having not played 50-over tournament much is a minus point for his side going into the series. "We have been playing very few amount of competitive 50-over cricket and that is the difference between other teams and us," said Gyanenra during a practice session at the TU ground.

"There is a pressure for us to adapt according to the conditions. Our cricket is not in that big level where we can switch perfectly overnight. We are looking forward for the solution of coming into this 50-over mode. But still all of the boys are prepared enough to test themselves at this stage, the captain added.

Spin the key

At their home ground, Nepal's main weapon once again will be their spinners with experienced leggie Sandeep Lamichhane forming the nucleus of the attack. Sandeep comes into the tournament with a decent outing in the Australian Big Bash League where he took 15 wickets from 13 games.

Left arm spinner Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi will be another prime pick while the inclusion of Sushan Bhari will depend on the number of pacers Nepal would come up with. Nepal, however, will miss the services of veteran left arm spinner Basanta Regmi who opted out of the tournament citing family reasons.

Kamal Singh Airee, with ability to bowl medium pacers and slog during the death overs, might have to wait long for his debut with Karan KC and Abinash Bohora already weighing heavier in terms of experience.

Paras-Gyanendra opening

All eyes will be on former skipper Paras and Gyanendra who have confirmed to open together for the first time in 50-over cricket putting the onus on middle order where Sharad Vesawkar will hold the key.

Paras has been opening for Nepal in the Twenty20s for the last one year and the most successful batsman of the country will now test himself in the one-dayers. With the most experienced batting line up leading the charge, another senior batsman Sharad will be crucial in the middle order.

Paras-Gyanendra opening combination also means a big opportunity for youngsters Dipendra Singh Airee, Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar Paudel to prove themselves having stayed with the senior side for a long time. The former U-19 trio has already contributed some crucial runs for Nepal when the team progressed in world cricket as an ODI country.


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