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Has Nepali cricket’s crisis resolved overnight?

Saturday, January 1: Twelve players refused to report to national team training camp signing a written memo that demanded Gyanendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee be reinstated as captain and vice-captain respectively.

Sunday, January 2: All players agree to join the camp starting from Monday dropping their demand of Gyanendra and Dipendra’s reinstatement.

Merely 24 hours after refusing to join the World Cup closed camp, the players have agreed to take to the field. But its not clear how the agreement was made.

The stories that built around Nepali cricket after the removal of the captain and vice-captain were grim since December 15. It had also coupled with the decision of not awarding 2022’s first six-month central contract to team’s top brass along with fast bowling duo Sompal Kami and Kamal Singh Airee.

Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) said it was forced to punish the players after they breached the discipline by claiming publicly that the central contract for 2021 was unjust to few players.

The stand-off soon took toll on U-19 team’s preparation as one of the leading dailies of the country reported that the discontent players asked other senior cricketers to refuse to play practice matches against the juniors as a part of their revolt.

Nepal then waited on the arrival of returning coach Pubudu Dassanayake who in his first public appearance cleared that the change in captaincy was the decision of the cricket governing body and he would not challenge it.

The tug of war continued between CAN and discontent cricketers as eight more players expressed solidarity saying they won’t join the camp until both Gyanendra and Dipendra were reinstated to their posts.

Surprisingly, CAN President Chatur Bahadur Chand on Sunday said any issue remaining has been resolved and everyone was going to join the camp from Monday.

Although the details of the agreement between two parties are yet to be made public, Chand said the players have dropped their demand of the reinstatement of Gyanendra and Dipendra.

The cricket governing body is said to have agreed over handing the initial six-month contract the four players but rest of the details over the negotiation is yet to be learnt. The agreement meant Sandeep Lamichhane will lead the team for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers to be held in February in Oman.

“Gyanendra has said that he doesn’t have any problem playing under the captaincy of Sandeep. We had very positive talks and hopefully everyone will be available for the camp,” Chand told cricketingnepal.com.  

On Monday, while holding the first training session with the currently available 14 players, Dassanayake said he was certain that all the players were going to join the camp. CAN has called on 30 players for the first phase of the camp.

Among the players attending the first day of training session were Sharad Vesawkar, Aarif Sheikh, Aasif Sheikh, Kushal Malla, Shahab Alam, Pawan Sarraf, Bhim Sharki, Pradeep Airee, Gulshan Jha, Jitendra Mukhiya, Bibek Yadav, Saurav Khanal, Rajesh Pulami Magar and Kishor Mahato.

Sagar Dhakal, Binod Bhandari, Bikram Sob, Sushan Bhari, Nandan Yadav and Hari Shankar Sah have already reported to CAN and are awaiting PCR report.

According to Dassanayake, Gyanendra, Dipendra, Sompal, Kamal, Kushal Bhurtel, Karan KC, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Abinash Bohora and Sandeep Jora will be available at the team hotel late on Monday.

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