Nepali colts promise a bright future

  • ACC U-16 Cricket
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Nepali colts promise a bright future

Aug 18, 2014-

With the game’s governing body in a shambles and preparations far from ideal, the Nepali colts had left for ACC Under-16 Premier League cricket in Malaysia with low expectations.

The team had a limited training in a 30-yard circle at the slippery Pulchowk Engineering grounds as the country’s only ‘international cricket venue’ at the Tribhuvan University was flooded by monsoon rains.

But what has unfolded since the competition’s kick-off in Kuala Lumpur on August 14 has warmed hearts of Nepali cricket followers. Nepal’s age-group cricket has ignited a wave of new hope.

Nepal racked up their fourth consecutive victory on Monday, beating Bahrain by 186 runs to put themselves a win away from the ACC Under-16 Premier League title.

Nepal currently lead the points table on eight, one ahead of hosts Malaysia in the championship that also features Oman, Singapore and Thailand. They will now play Malaysia in a winner-takes-all match in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. A victory against the hosts will see Nepal redeem themselves in the age-group cricket. Once considered a powerhouse in ACC youth ranks, Nepal’s strength in the age-group cricket has been on the wane since Gyanendra Malla-led team lost to Afghanistan in the 2009 ACC Under-19 Elite Cup semi-finals in Kuwait.

Nepal’s stupendous performances in the event have revolved around spinners where 13-year-old Anil Kharel has been in superb form. The diminutive teenager snared six wickets for 16 runs in Nepal’s handsome 102-run win over Oman. Kharel has picked up 12 wickets in the competition. But he is not yet the leading wicket taker; that feat is currently held by another Nepali spinner Jitendra Singh with 13 wickets. With the two operating in tandem, no opposition has managed a three-figure score against Nepal yet.

“Spin department has been the major weapon for us in this competition,” Nepal coach Raju Basnyat said, after the Oman victory. He sees Kharel and Singh as players capable of filling in the shoes of ageing tweekers Shakti Gauchan and Basanta Regmi in the senior Nepali team. “The spinners’ role will remain crucial and I believe that will determine where we finish from here,” Basnyat added. 

Published: 19-08-2014 09:08

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