Allrounder Pun, hard-hitting Bhandari back into squad

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 19, 2018-

Allrounder Sagar Pun and hard-hitter Binod Bhandari made an anticipated comeback as a 15-member final squad for the national cricket team have been announced for the ACC Asia Cup Qualifier scheduled for August 29 to September 9 in Malaysia.

Following continuous slump in their form, Pun and Bhandari were shown exit doors from the national team and had missed key tournaments in ICC World Cricket League Division in Namibia and ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe early this year. They had also gone on to get ignored for Nepal’s maiden One Day International Series (ODI) which the country played against the Netherlands on August 1 and 3 in Amstelveen.

But a long injury lay off to middle order mainstay Sharad Vesawkar and retirement of veteran left-arm spinner Shakti Gauchan had paved way for the duo. Vesawkar was injured while fielding against the Dutch in the first ODI which also was Shakti’s last for the national team.

As Nepal were playing their first ever ODI, Pun was making headlines in the Malaysian Premier League after slamming two centuries. He was adjudged the player of the series in that League and also took the best batsman honour. Bhandari had looked promising in the Prime Minister Cup One Day National in May. Pun also had a century in the Prime Minister Cup.

Rest of the members from the squad that travelled to the Netherlands were retained. Skipper Paras Khadka will lead the Nepali side that consists of vice-captain Gyanendra Malla, Anil Sah, Basanta Regmi, Dipendra Singh Airee, Karan KC, Lalit Singh Bhandari, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi, Aarif Sheikh, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sompal Kami and Subash Khakurel.

Nepal will play the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Oman and Singapore in the Qualifier which will send only the winners into the Asia Cup to join sub-continent’s traditional rivals India and Pakistan in Group ‘A’. Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are in the other pool. UAE is hosting the Asia Cup slated for September 16-28.

Team to prepare in Sri Lanka

KATHMANDU: Nepal will fine tune their preparations for the ACC Asia Cup Qualifier in Sri Lanka where they will play three practice matches against the local clubs. The team is leaving for Sri Lanka on August 20. Nepal will play their first practice match against Army Cricket Team in Panagoda before taking on Bloomfield on August 24. The practice tour will wrap up with the match against Colts on August 26. Following the practice tour, Nepal will directly leave for Malaysia on August 27. Sandeep Lamichhane, who is currently in the West Indies playing the Caribbean Premier League, will join the team directly in Sri Lanka. (PR)

Published: 19-08-2018 11:49

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