As the second strain of COVID-19 is gradually gripping South Asia, Nepal is all set to host the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series in presence of spectators.
On the eve of the tournament, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) said it was going ahead for the tournament with spectators after getting no directive from the government authorities.
Nepal government and the Health Ministry has requested to refrain from joining public gathering in 14 districts prone to be COVID-19 hotspots. That includes Kathmandu where the Tri-Series will be played.
“So far, we have not received any government directive or a written order from National Spors Council. We have made our preparations to allow limited number of spectators into the TU ground but with precautions. Masks will be mandatory and there will be sanitisers as well for the spectators,” said Raunaq Bahadur Malla, General Manager with the CAN.
Nepal are taking on the Netherlands in the tournament opener on Saturday but under forecast conditions, the match is likely to be affected by rain.
Different parts of Kathmandu experienced continuous heavy rain with hailstones and the weather condition is predicted to remain the same for few days.
But on a public holiday, the high-octane clash between two top Associate nations is certain to draw huge number of crowd. CAN has not given an exact number of spectators it is planning to allow.
While the government is yet to issue an strict directive, knock out football tournaments outside Kathmandu valley are still played in presence of crowd.
The fact is Nepal is close to being shut down after neighbouring country India is close to touching 200,000 cases every day.
Paras withdraws after shoulder injury
Ace Nepali cricketer and former national team skipper Paras Khadka pulled out of the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series after aggravating his shoulder injury. Paras informed through social media that he has been advised to undergo two to three-week rehabilitation.
“Having bumped my right shoulder while attempting to take a catch last sunday during a practice game,it aggravated my right rotator cuff muscle tendon and inflammation resulting in small tear,” Paras said on Friday.
“As per doctors’ advise and supervision over last 5 days, been advised to undergo 2-3 weeks of rehab and extensive physiotherapy,” the former skipper added. Sundeep Jora has been called as Paras’ replacement for the tournament.
All players test negative
Even if the government now directs the Nepali cricket governing body to hold the Tri-Nation Series behind closed doors, the tournament is certain to go ahead as none of the players from all three teams test positive.
The players from Malaysia and Netherlands were tested on Tuesday soon after their arrival. The local players were tested a day later. CAN said that all the players and officials involved in the tournament have returned with negative tests.
Previously, a haul of national cricketers including Paras, skipper Gyanendra Malla, Sandeep Lamichhane, Binod Bhandari had tested positive for Corona Virus before recovering.