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Dipendra to lead new-look Nepali national side in Qatar

Nepal on Friday announced an 18-member national team for the closed camp for upcoming Twenty20 International Series against Qatar resting a majority of the national team members.

A new look Nepal is all but certain to be led by a 21-year old Dipendra Singh Airee who three years ago led the Nepal to a famous victory over India in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup in Malaysia. Under Dipendra, Nepal had also reached the semi-finals of the age group tournament as both happened for the first time in the country’s cricket history.

Dipendra has been serving as the vice-captain for the national team after Gyanendra Malla took over the captaincy from Paras Khadka in October, 2019.

With Nepal’s ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 Tri-Series involving Oman and USA looming, Nepal kept their focuse on the crucial 50-over contest keeping out Gyanendra, Paras, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Sushan Bhari Shrestha and Aarif Sheikh for the Qatar series scheduled for February 9-12.

The five members left out formed the part of the team that played Nepal’s last international – ACC Eastern Region Twenty20 Asia Cup Qualifier in Thailand almost a year ago.

31-year old wicket keeper batsman Binod Bhandari is the senior most member in the Nepali squad announced on Friday. Other senior members include Krishna Karki, Bhuwan Karki, Sompal Kami, Karan KC and Abinash Bohora who were not the contemporaries to Dipendra.

Lokesh Bam, Sundeep Jora, Aasif Sheikh, Kushal Bhurtel, Sagar Dhakal, Kushal Malla, Bibek Yadav, Saurav Khanal, Pawan Sarraf and Shahab Alam were also considered for the closed-camp which will begin from February 1.

Qatar had proposed for the series which will mark the country’s Sports Day. Nepal’s newly-appointed coach Dav Whatmore will not accompany the almost second-string side to Qatar.

According to a source close to the Cricket Association of Nepal, Basanta Shahi Thakuri will look after the team in Qatar, while Whatmore will be with rest of the members preparing for the Oman Tri-Series.

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