Bhairahawa Gladiators have the knack of bringing in new boys into Nepal’s cricket. Sunday was just about that.
Irrespective of the heavy downpour playing spoilsport in the match against Pokhara Rhinos, Gladiators have left arm medium pacer Durgesh Gupta now coming into the fore.
After Sri Lankan seamer Dhammika Prasad struck in his first over with the big wicket of South African juggernaut Richard Levi, it was Durgesh who left the Rhinos in disarray.
Steaming in with a peculiar run-up, Durgesh had Bipin Rawal caught by a diving Pradeep Airee at square leg before castling Binod Bhandari’s leg stump round his legs.
The debutant then came into his second over and bowled opener Sunil Dhamala whose bad shot selection played a part to mark a dream start for Durgesh. The job, however, was done.
A wicket from Abinash Bohora, rocket throw from Bangladesh star Tamim Iqbal to brilliantly run out Asela Gunaratne and prized scalp of West Indian Kesrick Williams for debutant Chinaman bowler Tul Bahadur Thapa saw Rhinos reeling at 65-7 before rain saved them the day with just one ball gone after halfway stage.
Gladiators have been tagged favourites, making highlights with the signing of Tamim, Prasad and another Sri Lankan batting ace Upul Tharanga. But it was Durgesh who stole the limelight, despite the performance couldn’t fetch any result in the game.
A lot is yet to be known about Durgesh other than his lengthy recent training experience with another Nepali fast bowler in Noida. He did feature for Province 5 in last year’s Manoman Memorial Cup One Day National in Inaruwa returning the figures of 2-16 from 7 overs and bled 16 runs in the only match he got for Rupandehi Challengers in the 2017 Dhangadhi Premier League.
Durgesh was still living in an oblivion.
The Everest Premier League is just into its third game and Gladiators have played just once. Durgesh still has a long way to go in the tournament itself.
But as morning shows the day, Durgesh has what Nepali bowling attack requires and his arrival comes at a time when the country lacks swingers with the left arm.
The current set of Nepal’s pace bowling unit involves Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Kamal Singh Airee, Abinash Bohora, Gulshan Jha and Bikram Sob but they all are right armers. There are other emerging left arm medium pacers in Rijan Dhakal and Pratish GC.
But Durgesh gives an impression that he is something else. Although a lot is yet to be seen as the tournament progresses. Gunaratne slamming him for a massive six straight down the ground was just the test he had gone through in his Sunday’s three-over spell.
The story, however, is not only about Durgesh hitting the deck. Its also about how Gladiators are playing some role in the country’s cricket by fielding freshers at this big stage without a bit of hesitation.
They had rested experienced medium pace allrounder Krishna Karki to make way for Durgesh on Sunday.
And Bingo!! That worked.
The two-time finalists, Gladiators, are not introducing new boys into Nepali cricket for the first time. Its them who launched current national team stars Kushal Malla and Rohit Kumar Paudel before they got nurtured further under the national team system.
When Abinash Bohora came in to play his second season of the tournament, Gladiators had him polished. It resulted in him getting a national team call-up for Nepal’s 2019’s tour of UAE. In his debut series against the Emiratis, Abinash was the man-of-the-series in the three-match Twenty20 International fixtures.
Apart from Durgesh, Tul Bahadur could also be another addition to this list. Although he looked shaky, being hit for 18 runs in his first seven legal deliveries in domestic cricket, a Chinaman bowler doesn’t come often to knock at your doors in any part of this world.