Nepal prepared for their sixth round matches of the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) against Hong Kong without in-form middle order batsman Sharad Vesawkar.
Nepal, currently at the sixth spot of the points table with eight points, and are under pressure to win all the remaining matches. But ahead of the game, the team has lost consistent performer Sharad to viral fever that will keep him out of the two crucial games in Hong Kong.
Sharad’s performance has been instrumental for Nepal on their way to registering victories in the WCLC. He had made half centuries against Namibia in both the matches as Nepal opened their account in the table. His performance – with both bat and ball – was the cornerstone the victory against Kenya at home as well.
But Sharad’s exit means the team camp will have to bring some change in their plans with both bat and ball. Skipper Paras Khadka will now bat at No 3 where Sharad had been anchoring the innings of late, while his absence will also open up a spot for an extra bowler in the team.
Nepal are certain to field two seamers in Sompal Kami and Karan KC and following an assessment of the pitch, another left arm seamer Lalit Singh Bhandari along with spinners Sushan Bhari Shrestha and Sushil Kandel are likely to win debut for the team.
“Sharad’s absence will be felt but we have to think about the team. I am ready to bat at No 3,” said Paras on the eve of the match at Tin Kwong Road Recreation grounds. “We have observed the pitch and had a batting practice with match scenario. Its time for every to take up the responsibility and deliver.”
Nepal are familiar foes for Hong Kong having played with the tiny nation for over a decade. Nepal had prevailed over Hong Kong in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup on the back of half centuries from Gyanendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee in Bangladesh.
However, Hong Kong will have home advantage and know how to deal with the small ground in Mong Kok. Nepal’s strength will once again be their bowling attack through which they have come a long way in the world cricket.