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Karan, Rajesh: The Mission Accomplished

Although rain devastated Nepal’s 18-day tour of Sri Lanka washing away the three-match Twenty20 Series against Hong Kong, the first quarter of the tour will remain the most important.

 

Nepal played two three-day games in the beginning of the tour losing one and drawing the other and that is where coach Pubudu Dassanayake’s plans was implemented at the best fetching positive result.

 

Nepali think tank left for the tour with two new faces Rajesh Pulami and Karan KC who were expected to feature in both the three-day games. Things went according to the plan. Rajesh and Karan both played in the two matches exposing themselves to the tough conditions and they delivered.

 

The three-day matches tested both the players and both passing it with A Grades. For Rajesh the first innings against Kurunegala was a wake-up call after he got out for a third-ball duck. The duck probably could have been the worst of all for Rajesh in his entire career.

 

After spending three months in the Marylebone Cricket Club training camp in UK and exhibiting his best in the domestic cricket, Rajesh had not walked casually at the Welegedara Stadium pitch.

 

He was with the national team, probably with a faint notion that he has now got his hands into the door knob to be in the national team. And getting a duck out in the first game was a drop of huge chandelier in an empty auditorium for him.

 

He headed back in distress, dejected and probably it gave him a reminder what he could do. In absence of middle order mainstay, he returned to the pitch for second innings where Nepal needed 300 runs to win and from 45-4, he scripted a story that probably turned out to be a masterpiece.

 

At a time when one after another batsmen were succumbing to Sri Lankan spin, Rajesh stayed and glued to the crease. Bit-by-bit in his marathon knock of 173 balls he scored 95 that probably faced Nepal blushes in an 87-run defeat but his own outlook was to shine. A batsman was born.

 

He continued from where he had stopped after his innings against Kurunegala making 36 not out in the drawn match against Sri Lanka Combined XI. It was a confirmation that those 95 were not fluke and he has a lot to offer.

 

For Karan, coming out with the best performance among the experienced bowlers was a far cry specially at a time when fast bowling sensation Som Pal Kami is spearheading like bullet train. Karan picked up two wickets against Kurunegala and came out better picking up six wickets in the match against Combined XI. Mission accomplished, Nepal will now return with two new cricketers who will give a big selection headache.

 

The two will now pose a selection headache that coach Pubudu Dassanyake would love. “This tour is very important. We have found two guys already from this tour. That’s Karan and Rajesh,” said Dassanayake with his hallmark grin.

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