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The pair that graduated from cricket’s old school

For long time now, two old school cricketers Sunil Dhamala and Amit Shrestha have been continuously sucking the life out of bowlers in Nepal’s domestic tournaments.

Ever since beginning their career in Nepal as U-19 openers through the 2013-14 ACC U-19 Asia Cup, the Nepal Police Club duo has made the bulk of runs for the departmental giants.

The 24-year old Sunil has been one of the rare consistent scorers who has not failed in domestic cricket. The ambitious right-handed batsman from Kalikot spent some time in age groups before featuring in Nepal’s senior set-up in 2017.

Debuting against Kenya in home-soil four-year ago, Sunil is still waiting for his second shot in international cricket. He scored three and one respectively in his two appearances, both against Kenya.

Amit is yet to get the taste of international cricket.

Pakistan had just stamped their authority in the game when they clobbered 311-6 against Nepal in the 2013-14 ACC U-19 Asia Cup at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Amit and Sunil, playing their first match together, stayed put beginning with a 76-run stand.

Nepal ended up making a 179-7 to spare the blues. Amit top scored in that tournament for Nepal scoring 107-ball 60 against the Pakistani side. Sunil chipped in 70-ball 39.

Birgunj-based Amit can negotiate the spinners very well whist Sunil loves to match up against the medium pacers. Both are not entertainers in the true sense of the term, but grafters who can slug it out in trying conditions.

Sunil Dhamala has at least put up a half century in every tournament he has played for Nepal Police Club in domestic cricket.

Batting 16 times together in Nepal’s domestic national tournament since 2017, they averaged 27.68 together. The pair had averaged 32.76 before Amit had a poor outing in this year’s Mayor Cup. Amit only scored eight runs in three innings of that tournament.

The camera-shy pair scored 443 runs together from 16 innings, batting in different positions, usually as openers. They normally like to take time and set a strong foundation for others to follow. Doing so, their strike rate can be read as 65.24, since 2017.

They have averaged 37.33 in 2017 Prime Minister Cup with 112-run partnership altogether in three innings. Amit had scored 112 runs in the event followed by 110 runs from Sunil.

Sunil enjoyed the 2018 PM Cup but Amit’s was mediocre. Averaging 64.33, Sunil smashed struck runs in four innings. 2019 PM Cup saw Amit’s comeback as the right-handed batsman scored 210 runs including an excellent century (106) against Province No.1 at a tricky Mulpani Cricket Ground.

Amit averaged 35 in six innings. Sunil scored 93 runs in his four appearances. The duo put up 62 runs together in two innings. 2019’s MM Cup proved to be yet another good tour for the pair, scoring 134 runs in the four innings they batted together.

Amit’s form has not been the same after his position has been flirted with.

Sunil and Amit together only batted twice in the latest edition of the PM Cup scoring 67 runs. Sunil had an outstanding competition with 190 runs scored in five innings that included a century (104) against Lumbini Province. Amit only scored 60 in five innings.

Kathmandu Mayor’s Cup 2021 was their rare ordinary tournament as a partner. They only stitched 17 runs together in three opportunities they got. Sunil personally had yet another successful campaign with 163 runs to his name.

He averaged 40.75 with an unbeaten half-century against Nepal Armed Police Force Club in the final. Amit had a tournament to forget, scoring just eight runs.

Sunil averages nearly 30 in the domestic 50-over tournaments, scoring 642 runs in 26 innings since 2017. His long-time opening partner Amit scored 518 runs in one fewer innings.

In the world of glamour, Sunil and Amit don’t have attractive tattoos and unorthodox or innovative shots. But they have managed to perform consistently in the limited opportunities they get.

The two underdogs of Nepali cricket are passionately searching for the window to crack onto the national side. Sunil, in particular, is among the few notable players who have waited long — for almost four years now — to return to the national fold.

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