Sheikh, Jora out as three new faces drafted into U-19 teamBishal Bikram KC, Tilak Raj Bhandari and Khadak Bohora called up
Aashif Sheikh and Sandeep Jora were the biggest omissions as Nepal on Tuesday announced a 14-member final squad for the upcoming ACC U-19 Eastern Region Tournament with the inclusion of three new faces.
U-16 skipper Bishal Bikram KC, Tilak Raj Bhandari and Khadak Bohora were the three new faces to sneak in to the July 2-9 tournament to be held in Malaysia. KC, a future prospect for the senior team, was adjudged the player-of-the-tournament when he led Nepal to ACC U-16 Eastern Region Tournament, held in Malaysia from April 20-28. Bhandari was the part of that U-16 team.
Bohora was the consistent performer with the bat for Sudurpaschim Province during the Prime Minister Cup One-Day National Tournament last month. The U-19 team head coach Binod Das said leaving out Sheikh and Jora has a long term vision. “Both of the players (Sheikh and Jora) will not be eligible to play for Nepal provided we qualify for the 2022 U-19 World Cup. These two guys have made a lot of runs but we have decided to give them some rest,” Das told the Post.
“We want to form a core team for the 2020 U-19 World Cup Qualifiers and we thought that this was the right time we bring in players who are very young. It would be better for us if we try out the youngsters for the U-19 Asia Cup, given we qualify,” added Das.
Only the winners of the Eastern Region Tournament will qualify for U-19 Asia Cup to be held in Sri Lanka on August this year.
The squad also sees the return of Lokesh Bahadur Bam, who was in the team for last year’s U-19 Asia Cup in Bangladesh but emerging left arm-spinner Surya Tamang was ignored. “Lokesh is someone who has been in the system but hadn’t had much of the opportunities. Surya has been on and off so we decided to give him rest,” the former national team skipper clarified. Sheikh, Jora, Tamang and Aakash Chand have been kept reserved, while another member from the previous U-19 team Abhishek Basnet was not considered.
Rohit Kumar Paudel will continue to lead the Nepali team that also includes Bhim Sharki, Kushal Malla, Pawan Sarraf, Rit Gautam, Kamal Singh Airee, Hari Bahadur Chauhan, Pratis GC, Rashid Khan and Sagar Dhakal. Nepal are pitted in Group ‘A’ of the Eastern Region and will play Singapore, Myanmar and China. Group ‘B’ consists of Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Bhutan.
The top two teams from each pool will make it to the semi-finals. Nepal will play Myanmar in their first match on July 2 and take on Singapore three days later. The league campaign will round up with the match against China on July 6.