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Nepal seek fitting farewell for outgoing head coach Patwal

Already shaken by a sudden resignation of head coach Umesh
Patwal, the Nepali national cricket team would look to give the Indian a
fitting farewell when they take on Oman and USA in the ICC Cricket World Cup
League 2 Tri-Series that begins from Wednesday.

Although an official statement from the coach himself or the
Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) is still pending, Patwal is said to have
tendered his resignation to the International Cricket Council, which had coordinated
with the National Sports Council in absence of the country’s cricket governing
body to bring him to the post. Patwal, whose tenure began from June 10, 2019,
is leaving the Nepali team following the home tri-series.

After earning the One Day International status through the
ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in March, 2018, Nepal are making their ODI
debut at home through the League 2 fixtures. Nepal are also making their debut
in the League 2 where an improved USA lead the table with 12 points from eight
matches having registered six victories.

Oman, whose team comprises of Indian and Pakistani expats, are
fourth in the table with eight points from eight games out of which two of
their home games were abandoned due to the death of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos
Bin Said.

While USA has climbed up the ladder with inclusions of former
South African cricketer Rusty Theron and West Indies’ Xavier Marshall, Oman
have been consistently doing good in presence of experienced campaigners
including skipper Zeeshan Maqsood.

Nepal, on the other hand, are the least prepared team having
played just three ODIs in 2019. The only next three 50-over games in the ACC
Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh last year was a List ‘A’ match where they
played U-23 teams of Bangladesh and India along with Hong Kong.

Nepal have spent most of the times last one year playing
Twenty20 cricket that began with three-match bilateral series against the UAE
in February, 2019. Since then they competed in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Asian
Regional Qualifiers, Twenty20 Tri-Series in Singapore, Pentangular Twenty20
Series in Oman and South Asian Games Twenty20.

Gyanendra Malla, the new leader of the team, admitted having
not played 50-over tournament much is a minus point for his side going into the
series. “We have been playing very few amount of competitive 50-over
cricket and that is the difference between other teams and us,” said
Gyanenra during a practice session at the TU ground.

“There is a pressure for us to adapt according to the conditions.
Our cricket is not in that big level where we can switch perfectly overnight.
We are looking forward for the solution of coming into this 50-over mode. But
still all of the boys are prepared enough to test themselves at this stage, the
captain added.

Spin the key

At their home ground, Nepal’s main weapon once again will be
their spinners with experienced leggie Sandeep Lamichhane forming the nucleus
of the attack. Sandeep comes into the tournament with a decent outing in the
Australian Big Bash League where he took 15 wickets from 13 games.

Left arm spinner Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi will be another
prime pick while the inclusion of Sushan Bhari will depend on the number of
pacers Nepal would come up with. Nepal, however, will miss the services of
veteran left arm spinner Basanta Regmi who opted out of the tournament citing
family reasons.

Kamal Singh Airee, with ability to bowl medium pacers and
slog during the death overs, might have to wait long for his debut with Karan
KC and Abinash Bohora already weighing heavier in terms of experience.

Paras-Gyanendra opening

All eyes will be on former skipper Paras and Gyanendra who
have confirmed to open together for the first time in 50-over cricket putting
the onus on middle order where Sharad Vesawkar will hold the key.

Paras has been opening for Nepal in the Twenty20s for the
last one year and the most successful batsman of the country will now test
himself in the one-dayers. With the most experienced batting line up leading
the charge, another senior batsman Sharad will be crucial in the middle order.

Paras-Gyanendra opening combination also means a big
opportunity for youngsters Dipendra Singh Airee, Aarif Sheikh and Rohit Kumar
Paudel to prove themselves having stayed with the senior side for a long time. The
former U-19 trio has already contributed some crucial runs for Nepal when the
team progressed in world cricket as an ODI country.

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