First coach Bhattarai, ex-skipper honoured

- Binod Pandey, Dhangadhi

Feb 10, 2019-

Dhangadhi Cricket Academy (DCA) on Saturday honoured Nepal’s first international coach Sunoj Bhattarai and former national team skipper Pawan Agrawal.

The two cricket personalities were honoured during the opening ceremony of the Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL) which is set to begin from Monday at the Fapla Cricket Grounds. While Bhattarai was given Arjun Khadka Memorial Coach Honour, Agrawal took the Dhangadhi Cricket Honour. The awards carry a purse of Rs 100,000 each.

DPL organisers DCA annually honours cricket personalities with this honour during the opening of the tournament. Pubudu Dassanayake, Prafulla Vaidya, Jagat Tamatta, Jung Bahadur Thapa, Arun Aryal and Raju Khadka were the previous recipients of the award.

Bhatarai coached Nepal for the 1996 ACC Trophy in Malaysia. It was also the tournament from where Nepal made its international journey in world cricket. Agrawal was the part of that team. Under Bhattarai, Nepal reached the final of the 1999 ACC U-19 Youth Asia Cup in Singapore and made their first ever appearance in the ICC U-19 World Cup.

He was never part of any Nepali international team after the 199 Youth Asia Cup. Bhattarai said he was not expecting the award. “I was very happy when Arun (Aryal) sir received this honour last year. But I had never expected to be one of the recipients of this honour. DPL has recognised a Nepali coach and I want to thank the organisers,” said Bhattarai after receiving the award named under former coach of DCA.

Bhattarai has been serving as the coach in the National Sports Council and the 57-year-old is due to retire from his permanent job in about four months.

Agrawal is the first Nepali player to score an international half century in an official tournament after he slammed 81 against Brunei in the 1996 ACC Trophy. He went on to lead the national team in 2000 ACC Trophy in the United Arab Emirates where Nepal made their maiden entry into the semi-finals. He also played for the country in the 2001 ICC Trophy in Canada.

Agrawal was privileged to get the award. “When someone recognises your effort, it motivates you further. I am esteemed to get this honour. I never thought of winning an award during my playing days,” said Agrawal adding he was happy to see the transformation in Nepali cricket.

“The cricket environment then and now is completely different. Very few people could understand this game. But cricket and DPL itself generates a huge amount of interest in people. I think I would have enjoyed a lot as an active cricketer in this environment,” Agrawal added.

Agrawal, who was the central committee member of the Cricket Association of Nepal from 2006-2011, donated all his award amount to Dream Fapla, a campaign established by cricket enthusiasts of Dhangadhi and also includes the DPL organisers.

DPL inaugurated

DHANGADHI: The Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL) was formally inaugurated on Saturday. Province 7 Chief Minister Trilochan Bhatta declared the tournament open handing over the match ball to match referee Sameer Khan during a ‘soft’ opening ceremony at Hotel Flora.

The tournament was scheduled to begin from Saturday but continuous rain from Wednesday forced the organisers to postpone it until Monday. The tournament will be held for the first time at the Fapla Cricket Ground which is proposed as an international standard stadium. Bhatta said the provincial government will do its every beat to make Fapla an international standard stadium.

Published: 10-02-2019 09:35

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