Gauchan requires no introduction in Nepali cricket anymore. Everyone
knows he is a left arm spinner who comes from a golden generation of
Nepali cricket that is hailed for making its maiden appearance in the
ICC World Twenty20.
A delight to watch, Shakti
has a distinct pattern in his bowling, his ability to skid the ball once
it hits the deck is his USP. That USP has guided him to the training
camp of the Indian Premier League outfit Rajasthan Royals. Shakti was
proud and so were the Nepalese and his mercurial celebration after the
dismissal of Waqas Barkat during the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh
has made him a poster boy. A living legend of cricket whom we want to
keep playing cricket until the sport exists. But he cannot. Shakti is
ageing and the vanguard must have been haunted repeatedly by one single
question — who is next? Yes who is next after Shakti calls time to his
stellar career? This question has not only been haunting Shakti but
every one close to cricket, the current team management and lovers of
the game. Is there anybody out there?
On the backdrop of that
question, a medium-sized lanky figure has popped up suggesting he has an
answer. He is also a left armer who has followed a performance pattern
that recently reminded everyone of the figures
that Shakti has given with his phenomenal bowling. Sushil Kandel, the
U-19 cricketer from Pokhara, has done it all. The ACC U-19 Premier in
Malaysia became an event for Nepal that might have partially answered
the question leaving the administrators to do the rest.
Shakti, the figures from Sushil was phenomenal and in Nepal’s final
match against Saudi Arabia, he had his final say of the tournament and
first of what the country could expect more from him. In an
unexceptional spin bowling display, Sushil bowled nine consecutive
maiden overs ……….. yes I am scripting it right. Sushil contained
bowlers for 55 deliveries and on his way broke two records that Shakti
previously held for the country.
Shakti’s held a record of
bowling maximum number maidens in an innings and consecutive dot balls
for Nepal when he bowled eight maiden overs against Malaysia during the
ICC World Cricket League Division-IV game in Kuala
Lumpur, also setting a record of highest number of consecutive dot balls
better Shakti perfectly and on his way bowled 55 consecutive dot balls.
The only record where he cannot emulate or get the better of Shakti was
his 58 dot balls in the overall innings. But whatever Sushil has
achieved in a tender age is completely satiable. Unless another
tournament unfolds for him, the ACC U-19 Premier has been a point of
up 21 wickets as second highest wicket taker in the tournament apart
from bowling 21 maiden overs. He has been very economical throughout the
tournament conceding just 74 runs in the 44 overs he bowled with an
economy of 1.68, the best economy we have seen form a Nepali bowler in
any form of tournament.
ability to bowl with consistency for 55 deliveries is the one that makes
you think, Sushil has a lot to give. Provided Sushil is kept within a
system that works on his growth, Sushil could be the replacement that
Nepal is seeking for Shakti. He has age and time that could mould him as
one of the best spinners in the region. Shakti’s answer is laid right in
front, cash it on.