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We can challenge any side: Coach Jagat Tamatta

Jagat Tamatta will become the first home-grown
coach to look after the Nepali team in any U-19 World Cup when Nepal play their
first match against New Zealand in Fatullah on January 28. While he has a haul
of experience in looking after the age group and women’s team in different
tournaments, it is the first time that he is guiding the side at the big stage
of youth cricket. Ahead of the team’s departure to Bangladesh, Tamatta talked
about the team and his own experience as a coach. EXCERPTS:

What do you have to say about the team’s
preparation, Nepal’s group stage games and the players?

We are strongly prepared in the mental and
physical aspects. Everyone is fit. There is definitely a big challenge for us
because we are playing the World Cup, our seventh appearance. We are focused to
play the best cricket that we know. The team is based on all-rounders. India
tour has given us a good exposure. There are India, New Zealand and Ireland in
our group. We will play according to our strength. Our target is to reach the
second round. The boys are fit and there are good practice matches against
Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh have slow wickets and we have four quality
spinners. If we restrict the opponents to a low total and put 200 plus score,
we can challenge any side.

How much has the team improved since the time we
played the World Cup Qualifiers in Malaysia?

There has been a lot of improvement in the side.
The practice matches against Afghanistan (in India) has helped us know
ourselves in terms of bat. We had not been able to score more than 150 in U-19
cricket for the last five or six years and now we are going beyond 175. It’s a
good sign. Hopefully, we give our best with the bat.

Is the exit of all-rounder Saurav Khanal a big setback
for us ?

The injury of a Saurav is of course a big setback.
He had been match-finisher for us but unfortunately he sustained knee injury
during one of the practice matches in India. But we have a good replacement for
him in Kushal (Bhurtel). He is the best fielder and a good all-rounder.

What is the biggest strength of our team?

Spin, no doubt, is our big strength. The batting
department has also been in a good shape.

What are our plans for reaching the second round?

We are well aware about the strength and
weaknesses of Ireland because we have played them twice in Malaysia. We are
doing the video analysis of the matches that India and New Zealand have played
in past few months.

You are the first Nepali coach to guide the team
in the U-19 World Cup. How is the experience?

I was a player myself in 1996 and started
watching team two years later. I already have been working as a coach for the
last 20 years. There is not much heaviness in me regarding my status as a coach
that is guiding a team in the World Cup. The only difference this time is that
I am going to plan this time.  

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