ICC confirms Nepal’s place in Div 1 tourney

- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu
ICC confirms Nepal’s place in Div 1 tourney

Jan 28, 2015-

The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday confirmed that Nepal will compete in the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC)–one of the Division 1 tournaments scheduled for April 2015.

Nepal had finished fourth behind Kenya at the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 that concluded last week in Namibia, raising fears over their status in world cricket for the next four years. But the ICC meeting on Wednesday came as a big relief to both Nepal and Kenya, granting them a place in the WCLC.

The decision means Nepali cricket will have a busy calendar for the next two years. Over the period, Nepal will be playing 50-over home and away matches against Division 1 teams Scotland, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, the Netherlands, Namibia and Kenya. The appearance in the WCLC has also opened door for Nepal to compete in the 2019 World Cup in England.

Nepal’s entry to the WCLC was possible after the ICC decided to let Associate giants Ireland and Afghanistan join the 10 full members in the ranking-based qualification system for the 2019 World Cup. The top eight teams will qualify directly to the World Cup, while the bottom four will be joined by the top six teams from the WCLC in the separate qualifying competition for the cricket’s showpiece event.

National team skipper Paras Khadka was overjoyed by the news. “This is a blessing. This is a result of a collective hard work put in by cricketers, coach and support from every Nepali,” the ecstatic Khadka told the Post. “This will now provide a great platform for us to prove ourselves.

The Twenty20 International Status and play in the WCLC, which is close to being an ODI team, is the highest Nepali cricket could get.” But the skipper stressed on the need to improve the game’s domestic structure along the professional lines to fully exploit the opportunities offered to Nepal.

While Nepal will require a herculean task to get into the World Cup Qualifier, coach Pubudu Dassanayake remains confident that Nepali cricket will change its face in two years’ time. “The best thing is that we will get to play against competitive teams regularly. This will take us to the next level and World Cup Qualifier shall not be a problem,” Dassanayake said.

Published: 30-01-2015 18:02

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