CAN calls up 28-member preliminary squad for WCL 2Excludes former captain Lamichhane accused of raping a minor but freed on bail.
The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has named a 28-member preliminary squad for a closed training camp for the Nepal Tri-Series of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 on Friday. The series involving Namibia and Scotland apart from hosts Nepal will take place from February 14 to 21 at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur.
CAN has excluded the suspended former national captain Sandeep Lamichhane, accused of raping a minor and released on bail on January 13, from the list of 28 players. Though CAN president Chatur Bahadur Chand at a press conference on Thursday had said that they have received a green signal from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to include Lamichhane in the team, he was not in the list of 28 selected players.
“Sandeep is an important player in the squad and ICC have instructed us to take decisions regarding him, as per the law of the country. We are consulting legal experts regarding his case,” Chand said at a press conference.
Leg spinner Mausam Dhakal, Under-19 opening batter Ankit Subedi and off-spinner Surya Tamang are the new faces called up for the national camp ahead of the first game.
Nepal, however, are without a head coach after India’s former international Manoj Prabhakar resigned four months into his appointment, on December 14. The cricket governing body of the country is in the process of hiring a new coach and have sent the file for approval at the National Sports Council. They, however, have not disclosed the name of the next coach.
Nepal will play Namibia on February 14 and 18 in the doubleheader format. Nepal will play against Scotland on February 17 and 21, while Scotland and Namibia will clash on February 15 and 20.
Nepal are currently sixth in the team standings with 18 points from 24 matches among seven teams, which also include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Papua New Guinea (PNG), Oman and the United States of America (USA)
The teams finishing in the top three positions will qualify for World Cup Qualifiers and the top five teams will retain their One-Day International status. The bottom four will have to go through the playoffs for the Qualifiers.
Nepal’s chances of finishing in the top three are hanging by a thread. But, it can still look ahead to the qualifier playoffs—a repechage event to the Global Qualifier—that will be joined by the winner of Challenge League A and B. The top two teams from the playoffs will keep their hopes of participating in the Cricket World Cup in 2023.
But, before that, Nepal faces an uphill task ahead—retaining their One-Day International status by securing their position in the top five.
Each team will play 36 matches at the end of the league cycle. Scotland leads the standings with 46 points from 32 games, Oman are behind them on 44 points after playing all 36 games. Namibia (37 points from 30 games), US (35 points from 36 games), UAE (27 points from 26 games), Nepal (18 points from 24 games) and Papua New Guinea (five points from 28 games) are the other participating teams.
Preliminary Nepal Squad
Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh (Wicket-keeper), Gyanendra Malla, Rohit Paudel (Captain), Dipendra Singh Airee, Aarif Sheikh, Gulshan Jha, Karan KC, Sompal Kami, Sharad Vesawkar, Lalit Rajbanshi, Binod Bhandari, Sagar Dhakal, Sundeep Jora, Kisho Mahato, Kamal Singh Airee, Siddhant Lohani, Arjun Saud, Abinash Bohara, Surya Tamang, Bibek Yadav, Bhim Sharki, Kaushal Malla, Anil Sah, Bikram Sob, Bhuvan Karki and Ankit Subedi.