National team skipper Paras Khadka was nominated among the five players in hunt for the player of the year in Pulsar Sports Awards — the most coveted sports award of the country.
Paras — who led Nepal to two title finishes apart from giving fine performance in team’s almost every other outing — will get challenge from his own team mate Basanta Regmi in the category.
Left arm spinner Basanta — who marked a memorable last year with 41 wickets in three tournaments — was named alongside Sunil Lama of karate, Tilak Ram Tharu of athletics and Bharat Khawas of football.
Out of the five major categories, cricket has five nominations. Coach Pubudu Dassanayake was the strongest contender leading the Coach of the year nominations. Wangden Lama of swimming, Nar Bahadur Shahi of athletics, Akbar Shah of karate and Yuvaraj Gurung of wushu are other coach of the year nominees.
U-16 cricketer Aakash Bista was nominated in the Youth player of the year category where he will be getting tough competitions from Ratnajit Tamang of badminton, Shreya Dhital of swimming, Chahana Bomjan Lama of wushu and Niru Thapa of football.
Paras is also nominated in the Popular player of the year category an award which will be decided through SMS voting and facebook likes. NSJF — the umbrella association of Nepalese sports journalists is practicing the facebook likes for the first time.
Paras led Nepal to two international titles — both at foreign soil — and one runner-up finish in the past year. Displaying an exemplary leadership Paras handed Nepal the ICC World Cricket League Division-IV title in Malaysia in September and ACC Trophy in October.
Whie Paras struck his first ever century during the ACC Trophy in Dubai, he was also declared the player-of-the-series of the tournament. He was also named the man-of-the-series when Nepal reached the ACC Twenty20 Cup final for the first time in home soil.
Basanta was the cornerstone for Nepal’s successful campaigns last year — the most important was his performance in Division-III where he took 21 wickets and was named the man-of-the-series. A man-of-the-final in Division-IV, Basanta had taken five wickets against America twice — in the league stage and in the final. He had taken 10 wickets each during the ACC Trophy and ACC Twenty20 Cup.
With a haul of 41 wickets, Basanta became the most successful bowlers for Nepal in one year. Dassanayake has been the major force behind team’s every success. Dassanayake leased a new life in the same set of cricketers who had failed to give results for the national team. His excellent guidance helped Nepal break their title losing jinx in the foreign soil.
Aakash was the man-of-the-series in the ACC U-16 Tournament — an event where he made his international debut. He made 109 runs from six matches and picked up 17 wickets in the tournament.
Player of the year female was the only category where cricket had no nominations. Footballers Anu Lama and Jamuna Gurung, athlete Keshari Chaudhary, wushu player Jharana Gurung and karateka Anu Adhikari were the player of the year female nominees.
NSJF will declare the awards on July 2 in a grand ceremony at the Academy Hall. The Sports Award also honours sports personalities with Special, Lifetime Achievement and Paraathlete awards. All three winners will be directly declared during the award ceremony. The NSJF selection committee is headed by NSJF secretary Prakash Timalsina.