Everest Premier League Cricket 2016 -Team overview and profilesHere are team profiles of Everest Premier League (EPL).
Winners of the 50-over edition held under the Nepal Premier League, Panchakanya Tez will once again start the tournament as favourites despite not having two of their veterans from the previous squad.
Tez will be without Binod Das, now retired and taking the role of Tournament Director, and Rajkumar Pradhan, the leg spinner who had taken 6-42 handing his side a 97-run victory over Jagdamba Giants—now Rhinos—in the final in 2014 after he decided to leave for Japan.
Tez were looked after by Raju Basnyat but they have found a new coach in Kalam Ali who believed that his side has moved on from the last event. “Yes we will be without Rajkumar and Binod but we have moved on. The current squad is pretty satisfying,” said Ali.
Sharad Vesawkar had led Tez to the 50-over title and the in-form batsman will once again be at the centre of his team considering the fine form he has been in for a long time. Vesawkar had been one of the leading run scorers for Nepal in the international games and his side would like him to continue the fine form.
Tez will also expect their opener Sanjay Shrestha to resume from where he left in the previous edition. Shrestha was the top scorer of the final in previous edition with his 84 leading the team to a challenging total in a difficult pitch in Dhangadhi. Tez squad is also bolstered by the presence of U-19 all rounders Aarif Sheikh and Dipendra Singh Airee, influential figures in Nepal’s ICC U-19 World Cup campaign earlier this year in Bangladesh.
Pushpa Thapa, the man with massive experience in domestic cricket, will be another crucial member of the team. The tournament will also be a platform for forgotten national team member Prithu Baskota. The former U-19 skipper has had a difficult career so far due to injury and is now finally ready to take to the field in Nepal’s biggest domestic cricket tournament. Tez has been a team filled with allrounders with seamers Sonu Tamang, Karan KC and Kushal Bhurtel able to both bat and ball. Sushil Kandel and Bhuwan Karki will be frontline spinners.
Tez manager Gopal Wagle said his side will be raring to go for the title one more time. “I think we have one of the best squads in the EPL. We are very eager to win the title. Although there is a switch in the format and venue, the boys are quite familiar with the TU grounds and they can handle any sort of game very well,” he said.
Coach Ali said they are awaiting for the match day. “Its all about how we deliver on the field now. Twenty20 is a two-ball game and we just need to make sure that we don’t leave anything unguarded,” said Ali.
Ujjwal Shrestha (Executive Director, Panchakanya Group)
Cricket has done well in a very short span on time. Cricketers have made the country proud. Call it a CSR or brand promotion, we felt obliged to join in with the sports. We are definitely going to double up in terms of our support to the event. We are confident that we can invest more.
Sharad Vesawkar (Captain)
EPL is a big platform which will help in showing a bigger picture of Nepali cricket. Few of the players who performed for our team in the 50-over edition are already in the national team. Its the swift progress of the young cricketers that EPL is able to provide through a timely exposure. We now have to work forward in making this event bigger and bigger with the progression of time.
Sharad Vesawkar (captain), Sunny Pun (wk), Nirmal Thapa, Sushil Kandel, Bhuban Karki, Karan KC, Aarif Sheikh, Sanjay Shresha, Sonu Tamang, Puspa Thapa, Dipendra Airee, Prithu Baskota, Aasif Sheikh, Kushal Bhurtel
One of the most expensive squads of the current edition of EPL. Legends are led by hard-hitting batsman Binod Bhandari and lines up another explosive all rounder Mehboob Alam. After going through a patchy form, Bhandari has brought himself back into form but a question will remain on how Alam is going to perform.
Excluded from the national squad for a long time, Alam has not been in his best and the ageing fast bowler has been forced to bowl spin or slow medium in his recent past. Legends will be demanding more from his bat and any success for him with the ball would be a bonus.
Alam is not the only one batsman whom Legends will be relying upon. Expecations will be high from U-19 opener Sunil Dhamala who recently made his way into the national team for the ICC World Cricket League Championship match against the Netherlands. Senior team opener Anil Mandal, Dhamala’s teammate Sandeep Sunar, wicketkeeper batsman Dilip Nath, Anupam Singh and Shankar Rana will be expected to shine for them.
Experienced seamer Chandra Sawad will be leading Legends bowling attack along with new national team discovery Bikram Sob. Rupesh Srivastav and Nischal Pandey will give an allround option to the team, while Rahul Kumar BK and Lal Bahadur Adhikari are the frontline spinners.
Legends manager Pratik Adhikari expects something big from the star-studded lineup. “We pose ourselves as the title contenders. We have players from national teams, experienced U-19 and regional cricketers too,” said Adhikari. The biggest asset for Legends will be their coach Jagat Tamatta, the experienced campaigner who has been with the senior national team for a long time, including the 2014 ICC World Twenty20.
“His (Tamatta) presence will be crucial for us. He is the man with immense experience and has trained our boys pretty well,” said Adhikari. Tamatta has plans for the entire tournament. “Our team has a good mix of senior and junior players who are quite experienced. The only thing we want from them is to click on right time,” said Tamatta.
“If we put 140 on board then we can defend it. Our advantage is the presence of senior players like Binod, Mehboob, Anil and Chandra. But junior players like Bikram, Sandeep, Sunil also have the ability to be match winners,” added the coach.
Binod Bhandari (Captain)
There has been no national level tournament in Nepal for a long time and this will relieve many players who have been willing to prove themselves. The more domestic tournaments are held, the more it benefits the players. We expect that his tournament continues because it will definitely bear fruit to Nepali cricket in a long run. Most importantly, EPL also brings professionalism to Nepali cricket considering the match fees cricketers are getting and how corporate house have been keenly involved in it.
Aditya Sanghai (Director, Ghorahi Cement Industry)
We have been associated with Nepali cricket long before the EPL came into existence. We felt that it was our responsibility to support the sports and not just always indulge into business activities.
Binod Bhandari (captain), Dilip Nath (wk), Mehboob Alam, Anil Mandal, Chandra Saud, Bikram Sob, Sandeep Sunar, Sunil Dhamala, Shankar Rana, Rahul Kumar BK, Nischal Pandey, Lal Bahadur Adhikari, Anupam Singh, Rupesh Srivastav
Led by national team vice captain and middle order mainstay Gyanendra Malla, X-Factor boast a young set of players and will be itching to make the most out of their energetic squad. Apart from Malla, veteran right-arm off spinner Sanjam Regmi and Kathmandu batsman Sanjay Basnet embody immense experience that could help in leading their team to EPL Twenty20 glory.
Although he has not been in the national team for quite a while, Regmi’s bowling could be key in X Factors’ title bid, while Basnet’s domestic experience at the TU grounds can be termed as a perfect fit for a young-looking team. X Factors biggest relief is the presence of hard-hitting all rounder Siddhant Lohani who has been delivering in different knockout tournaments taking his team out from the jaws of defeat.
X Factors failed to impress in the 50-over format of then-Nepal Premier League in 2014 in Dhangadhi but their manager Raj Thapa knew that Twenty20 was going to be a different ball-game. “Its a Tweny20 format now and it is definitely going to be different because we are playing at the TU grounds,” said Thapa.
“We have a youthful squad which is very energetic. Most of the players come from U-19 and U-16 teams and this will help us in building a good base in coming days. They will get good exposure and mature with time,” said Thapa. If X Factors can look for aggression from their youngsters, they can also expect some sensibility from experienced players including skipper Malla. Malla has all kind of shots in his ammunitions but he is often seen taking time to settle down before launching any attack. Rajesh Pulami
Magar, Amar Singh Rautela, Hari Shankar Sah and Yogendra Singh Karki can anchor the innings with Lohani, Faizlur Rahman Khan and Himanshu Dutta switching to aggressive gears. Coach Manjoor Alam also believes his side has a good fast bowling attack. Avinash Karn and Nandan Yadav are the two medium pacers who will be aided by spinners Arun Airee, Lohani and Singh. Khan backed his team to win the title. “The team is better than it was during NPL. We can see ourself winning the tournament considering the experience that our boys carry,” said Khan.
Rohit Gupta (Managing Director, Teletalk)
Excited and lucky to be part of this event. We have to this event will create excitement (among the fans). We want to see the event even bigger the next time. We will have bigger pool of players to choose from to form a team which will also be a very good platform for the younger players to showcase their talent.
Gyanendra Malla (Captain)
This is the first time that such kind of competition has been introduced in the shorter version of the game. Its a good platform in terms of Nepali cricket because it not only brings national and international players together, but also drags the attention of corporate and media houses. Most importantly it will provide a much-needed exposure to our cricketers who have been waiting for long to showcase their talents. We are hopeful that this tournament will go bigger with time because once a standard is maintained, it will set up a good base for the future. If the same event comes up with a 50-over cricket then this will even help us even further. If this continues for the next five years, our standard of domestic will go 10 fold.
Gyanendra Malla (c), Himanshu Dutta (wk), Siddhant Lohani, Avinash Karn, Rajesh Pulami Magar, Sanjam Regmi, Amar Singh Rautela, Yogendra Singh Karki, Rahul Pratap Singh, Faizlur Rehman Khan, Hari Shankar Sah, Arun Airee, Nandan Yadav, Sanjay Basnet
With national cricket team skipper Paras Khadka leading the side, expectations will definitely be high when Vishal Warriors take to the field against Kantipur Gurkhas in the opening day game.
Khadka, the biggest name in Nepali cricket, is enough to underline how serious Warriors could be with their game. However, its not the name that performs on the field as was evident when Warriors ended up finishing sixth in the 50-over Nepal Premier League ((NPL). The team, this time around, will be trying to improve on their NPL disappointment.
Apart from skipper Khadka, Warriors also boast the experience of Paresh Lohani, Sagar Pun, Manjeet Shrestha and Dipesh Khatri. But more than the seniors, their team will be happy if younger players perform to hand Warriors the title. Ageing Lohani is a batsman whose prime days of cricket are gone and so are that of Manjeet and Khatri, who both are genuine allrounders.
With new generation of players ready to take over, it will all come down on newcomers Raju Rijal, Sushan Bhari Shrestha, Prakash KC, Ramnaresh Giri, Irshad Ahmed, Dipesh Shrestha, Nurdhoj Sen, Suraj Prasad Kurmi and Yagyaman Kumal and how they are moulded by Khadka. While Rijal is a genuine wicketkeeper-batsman, left-arm spinner Shrestha will try to make the most of his recent experience in England’s Sunday League.
Giri, Kumal and Dipesh will look after the fast bowling department with Irshad Ahmed raring to have a go with his spinning options. Warriors manager Raunak Bahadur Malla wanted his youngsters to deliver.
“Every team is equally strong and I believe that the condition is pretty good now because the youngsters of the previous edition have matured. Raju, Irshad, Ramnaresh and
Sushan have grown up as cricketers and their recent experience will be useful,” said Malla adding the most defining part of his team would be the leadership.
“We are counting on the leadership of Khadka. Definitely, expectations will be high from him but his ability to take the best out of everyone is what we are looking to capitalise on. There will be pressure and it can go two ways. Our strength is that we have a good team bonding and understanding,” the manager added.
Vishal Agrawal (Director, Vishal Group)
We all have gone through tough times for the last one-and-a-half-year especially after devastating earthquake. We have that cricket will help bring some joys back. Hope this will help give some positive message (to the people).
Paras Khadka (Captain)
All of us, including the captains, were obsessed that if we can rope in international players. But since domestic cricket was almost nil we came to the conclusion that we need to focus our local players so that everyone gets the opportunity to perform. From next year, we have to go big and have international players. We have to have international players, may be from Test countries, it can be worked upon because Nepali cricket has a huge reputation in global stage. In the Associate world, so many Associate players are eager to play in the EPL. We have received message from international coaches and players from Associate countries that they want to play in the EPL. So EPL is creating the buzz. Next year, we have to plan accordingly and make it big. If we can take it to the next level, we are going to be one of the best examples to the ICC that we can stage big events in spite of the things that are not under our control. We have to work together because EPL is a stamp and I am more than sure that it is going to be even bigger.
Paras Khadka (capt), Raju Rijal (WK), Sagar Pun, Paresh Lohani, Manjeet Shrestha, Dipesh Khatri, Prakash KC, Sushan Bhari, Ramnaresh Giri, Irshad Ahmed, Yagyaman Kumal, Suraj Prasad Kurmi, Dipesh Shrestha, Nurdhoj Sen
Having roped in players with lot of experience, Gurkhas are a side that can fancy a chance at the title provided their entire set of players peak at the right time. National team veteran left-arm spinner Basanta Regmi leads the Gurkhas that also includes wicketkeeper and opening batsman Subash Khakurel along with allrounders Pradeep Airee and Santosh Bhatt.
While allrounder Bhatt has been a key member of any team he plays for the past one and half year in domestic tournaments, Airee’s presence will be key in gaining a psychological edge against any bowler. His ability to bowl slow medium is an asset for the Gurkhas. Gurkhas didn’t have best of the Nepal Premier League and they will now be looking forward to make impact in the second tournament that they are playing. “I believe that our team is strong because the strength is there in both batting and bowling department,” said Sushil Rawal, the team manager.
Lalit Singh Bhandari and Avinash Bohora are the two seamers with returning Krishna Karki being a perfect back-up plan. Aakash Gupta is one of batsmen Gurkhas will be pinning their hopes on as the left hander can crush any bowler provided he gets going, while Aakash Bista will take to the field as a key allrounder.
With the talents he has at his disposal, coach Samson Jung Thapa is confident but he was cautious also. “We know that we can win the tournament but we need to play a good brand of cricket. We need to play every game as the final although it is a league tournament and any team can recover from any stage,” said Thapa.
Sunil Vasistha (AGM, Kantipur Publications)
Our primary motive to join hands with the event is simple: cricket should be followed as passion. We take it as a right step that will lead cricket to a right direction. Sports unite people and hope cricket unite us. Lets hope the best team wins.
Basanta Regmi (Captain)
The good thing is that Nepal is getting a big domestic tournament after a long time and most importantly it has a league format. A lot of youngsters are going to get good exposure through this tournament, a much-needed one. Since the tournament has been able to drag a big media attention, it will highlight the youngsters who can give the best performance. Nepal is not limited within the 84 cricketers who are competing in this tournament but their participation will certainly motivate other players to do better. Additionally, the involvement of corporate sector is also a big thing. Currently, there are six teams and a successful completion of the tournament will inspire other corporate house to join hands with cricket, which no doubt is going to be the biggest prize for Nepali cricket.
Basanta Regmi (capt), Subash Khakurel (wk), Sandeep Zora, Anil Shah, Avinash Bohora, Lalit Singh Bhandari, Santosh Bhatt, Pradeep Airee, Lalit Rajbanshi, Antim Thapa, Aakash Gupta, Aakash Bista, Prajwol Shahi, Krishna Karki
The unlikely finalists of the 50-over edition, the team’s biggest change has been their shift of name from Jagdamba Giants to Jagdamba Rhinos. They didn’t have too much of big names when they reached the final last time with ace spinner and captain Shakti Gauchan and fast bowling sensation Sompal Kami leading the star-billings.
With time, their junior players have grown up awaiting to hit the big stage but still Rhinos have the lowest profile in terms of names involved. Opening batsman and wicketkeeper Mahesh Chhetri, in and out of national team of late, is another big name in the Rhinos squad with U-19 cricketers Prem Tamang, Saurav Khanal, former U-19 players Hashim Ansari and his teammate Amit Shrestha being the next big stars.
Middle order batsman Bhupendra Thapa has been in a form of his life and EPL could be a tournament where he can prove his point. Nepalgunj batsman Subhendu Pandey is another experienced batsman who will need to pull his socks up for an unfancied side of the EPL. Nizamuddin Halwai, Ganesh Gaudel, Pawan Sharraf and Bishal Sunar are the names in the Rhinos squad that need to shine in order to establish themselves in the mainstream of the game.
Rhinos are the only team to have built their base outside Kathmandu—in Bhairahawa—in the build up to the game. Their manager Sudin Manandhar believed the build-up to the game has helped them shape up properly for the tournament. “We had a very fine preparation because our training was hardly hampered. Looking at the way how our guys have trained, we can pose ourselves as one of the title contenders. We have Nepal’s two best bowlers in Shakti and Sompal and if other players perform to their potential we can win the title,” said Manandhar.
Shakti Gauchan (Captain)
The best thing about the tournament is that there are youngsters who didn’t have the opportunity to put their talent in display and EPL will be a good platform for them. I expect all the youngsters are going to give their best for this tournament. For Nepali cricket, organising a Twenty20 league tournament is a good news because it has multiple aspects. In the long run, if this tournament goes to a bigger level, we can fight against the teams of Test countries where cricket is more professional and systematic. If we manage to give continuity to this tournament, then we can expect a bright future of cricket in our country.
Shakti Gauchan (captain), Mahesh Chhetri (wk), Hashim Ansari, Amit Shrestha, Subhendu Pandey, Saurav Khanal, Prem Tamang, Bhupendra Thapa, Sompal Kami, Pawan Sharraf, Nijamuddin Halwai, Shah Alam, Bishal Sunar, Ganesh Gaudel