Khakurel, Bhandari out of Scotland clash

- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu
Khakurel, Bhandari out of Scotland clash

Jul 20, 2015-

-Prithu Baskota, Mahesh Chhetri to replace the out-of-form duo 

-Injured Sagar Pun ruled out

-Impressive Lohani makes the cut


A disgraceful performance in the past three weeks has seen Subash Khakurel and Binod Bhandari lose their national team spots in Nepal’s upcoming ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) matches against Scotland.

After a horrible display in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers where they finished at the bottom in Group ‘A’ to lose a second consecutive spot in the World Twenty20, Nepal will be hoping to put some ointment to their wound with a better performance in their first round of the WCLC games against Scotland slated for July 29 and 31. 

Khakurel had a disappointing Europe outing where he completely flopped with the bat making just 22 runs from three matches in the four-match bilateral Twenty20 International series against the Netherlands. In the only match (against Hong Kong) of the Qualifiers he played, Khakurel made just two runs. Bhandari had a similar story making just 14 runs from five matches in the Qualifiers and 21 runs from four games in the Netherlands. 

Coach Pubudu Dassanayke informed The Kathmandu Post from Dublin on Monday that Prithu Baskota and Mahesh Chhetri will replace the two out of form players for their WCLC opener. Baskota and Chhetri are playing in England with both batsmen scoring plenty of runs for their club. Baskota had made 146 runs for Upchurch Club in the Kent Cricket League Division 2 in his first match.

Chhetri, meanwhile, made an unbeaten 64 for Troon Cricket Club in his first game. Rookie Siddhant Lohani, who had an impressive debut making 16-ball 27 against Jersey in his only game of the Qualifiers, has also been considered for the Scotland tour. Lohani was initially named only for the Qualifiers but his aggressive batting approach has earned him a place in the national side.

Meanwhile, all rounder Sagar Pun has also been ruled out from the Scotland tie after sustaining injury during the Qualifiers game against Papua New Guinea, which Nepal had lost by eight wickets. The team management informed that Pun has been asked to take at least two-week rest. He rested for the match against Jersey making way for Lohani. Pun, Khakurel and Bhandari are awaiting tickets to return home.

Left-arm seamer Avinash Karn, taken to UK as a back-up player for Nepal in  the Qualifiers, will make the final 14-member squad for Scotland tour along with skipper Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Rajesh Pulami, Pradeep Airee, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Shakti Gauchan, Basanta Regmi and Anil Mandal. In absence of Khakurel and Pun, Mandal and Chhetri will  open the innings for Nepal.’

Nepal had earned a berth in the WCLC after finishing fourth in the WCL Division-II last year. A 50-over home and away tournament of the International Cricket Council for the non-Test playing nations, the WCLC also serves as the preliminary selection for the 2019 World Cup Qualifier. 

The top six teams after the completion of the tournament will qualify for the 2019 World Cup Qualifiers. Nepal will also play two matches each against the United Arab Emirates, Namibia, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Kenya in the WCLC.

Published: 21-07-2015 08:36

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