With two new teams in the cricketing scene, the Pepsi Standard Chartered Naional Twenty20 Tournament is beginning from Thursday. Since there is a least chance for the new faces to sneak in for the national team ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 and 50-over World Cup Qualifiers, the tournament will once again work as an national event like last year.
The Twenty20 event will not be a selection process of the players for national team. CAN has already named a 25-member squad for the closed-camp and after Prithu Baskota injured out for six months, coach Pubudu Dassanayake has already hinted that he will stick with the current 24 and possibility of a new face is almost nil unless some prodigy hits the market.
Region No 9 (Mahendranagar) and Nepal Army Club will be making their debut in the national cricket after their formation this year, while there will be a big pressure on Region No 6 (Baitadi).
Baitadi — finalists of the previous editon — are powerless this time after Mahendranagar incorporated their players from Doti, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Achham — the districts that previously came under Region No 6. While others players have joined Nepal Army.
The tournament will now also be all about whether defending champions Nepal APF Club’s domination will be ended this time or not. The possibility though remains very low, Region No 3 (Kathmandu), Nepal Army and Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) will be expected to at least give some challenge to them.
Kathmandu are currently bolstered by some good players in Som Pal Thapa, Suraj KC and Arjun Adhikari who all come from Indian cricket background. Bhairahawa had challenged APF in the One-day tournament last year and expecation will also remain from them, while Nepali Army, Pokhara, Janakpur, Biratnagar and Birgunj will be expected to do better with cricket becoming a big thing in Nepal now.