Nepal count on their fans

  • triangular twenty20 tournament at lord’s
- ADARSHA DHAKAL, Kathmandu

Jul 29, 2018-

Nepal will once again expect to get backed by thousands of supporters in their reunion with the iconic Lord’s cricket ground during the Triangular Twenty20 Series involving Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Netherlands on Sunday.

Two years after making their debut at the Mecca of cricket, Nepal are reliving their memories of July 19 bicentenary match of 2016 when almost five thousand Nepali supporters made the team feel at home. While the MCC squad was relatively weaker compared to the current side led by Sri Lankan cricket legend Mahela Jawardene, the Twenty20 International status provided to the match against Dutch will also give them a boost for rankings. The one-day event will see the Netherlands taking on MCC in the first match and it will be followed by Nepal’s clash against the hosts. The Netherlands-Nepal clash will conclude what is expected to be an eventful day of cricket at the Lord’s.

Nepal skipper Paras Khadka, who had said ‘it felt like playing at home’ two years ago once again expects the Nepali diaspora in UK throng to the stadium.

“Its a great opportunity for the Nepalis to wave the national flag at this iconic ground,” Paras told the MCC in a video interview ahead of Triangular Twenty20 Tournament in London. “Every game in Lord’s is special. And Nepal cricket at Lord’s doesn’t happen very often. We are hoping to get a decent crowd in and put up a good performance and return with victory,” he added. Paras also considered Nepal lucky to get another opportunity to exhibit their cricketing prowess at a stadium that carries a glorious history and celebrates achievements from top notch international cricketers. “We played here couple of years ago and it was great. We are luck to get another chance and this time it is a Triangular Twenty20 Series. As a cricketer we couldn’t ask for more,” Paras told the Post from London.  

“We are always excited to be at the Lord’s. Every player has a dream to play there and we have another opportunity to do it again. The interesting part of this day is that we are returning as a Twenty20 international team. This is exciting time for Nepali cricket and we want to create history,” the skipper added.

Times have changed for Nepali cricket which is now filled with a majority of youngsters who will be itching to make their Lord’s debut memorable. Leg spin prodigy Sandeep Lamichhane, who has now become the first globe trotting cricketer of the country travelling across the world in lucrative professional Twenty20 leagues, is one of them. But the new poster boy of Nepali cricket knows how special it was going to be to represent his own country for the first time in a Twenty20 International.

“It will be a special moment for me because this is going to be my first Twenty20 International for Nepal. The best thing is that it is happening at a ground where every cricketer desires to play one day. This is going to be a very special moment for everyone of us,” said Lamichhane who last played at the Lord’s representing a World XI side against West Indies in a fund-raiser Twenty20 International on May 31 this year organised by International Cricket Council.

Anil Sah, Dipendra Singh Airee, Lalit Singh Bhandari, Aarif Sheikh, Lalit Narayan Rajbanshi and Rohit Kumar Paudel will also be making their debut at the Lord’s having recently replaced settle names from the Nepali squad.

After the completion of the match, Nepal will then travel to the Netherlands where they will play their first ever One Day International (ODI) series. The VRA grounds in Amsterdam will host the two-match series with the first ODI on August 1 and second a day later.

Published: 29-07-2018 08:46

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