National women’s cricket team on Saturday left for Thailand to participate in the ACC Women’s Premier which sends the top three teams in the Asian Games.
With ACC introducing a new round-robin league format in all its premier tournaments from this year, it would be a great opportunity for Nepali women to join the Test playing teams in the regional sporting showpiece to be held in Incheon, South Korea.
Skipper Rubina Chhetri has Asian Games spot playing in her mind. “We have been practicing pretty well and I believe in a new format, we can finish at least third in the tournament,” said Rubina before the team’s departure to Thailand.
Nepal will play against hosts and title contenders Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Bhutan and Iran where a one slip-up against any of the minnows can hit hard in their bid of rounding up inside the top three finishes.
Coach Umesh Upadhayay, however, is confident his side would make it to the top three. “It’s a new format but that is not going to be difficult hurdle for us,” said Upadhayay. “I have seen these girls do pretty well during our preparation. I am sure, the top three spot is there for us,” the coach added.
Nepal has not been able to defeat Thailand and China off late but that is not a point, the coach believes the team should head forward with. “I think this team can beat Thailand and China as well, if it plays to its potential. We have had good round of practice matches against NCA U-16 team and we defeated them once as well. I don’t see, we need to fear anything about our opponents,” added the coach.
The 2014 Asian Games women’s cricket, which is going to be 20 overs a side, will include four Test playing nations in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Korea, Japan along with the three teams to be qualified from the tournament in Chiang Mai.