WCLC: Nepal lose Vesawkar for crucial clashNepali camp was jolted on Thursday by the unavailability of in-form Sharad Vesawkar for the sixth round of the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) as the middle order batsman suffered from viral fever and could not feature in the team’s away matches against Hong Kong which kicked off on Friday.
Nepali camp was jolted on Thursday by the unavailability of in-form Sharad Vesawkar for the sixth round of the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) as the middle order batsman suffered from viral fever and could not feature in the team’s away matches against Hong Kong which kicked off on Friday.
Vesawkar is the second highest scorer for Nepali in the WCLC having made 321 runs from 10 innings. Only skipper Paras Khadka (352) has score more than Vesawkar in the tournament. Naresh Budhayer, who was named reserved, has been called up in place for Vesawkar and has already left for Hong Kong.
Budhayer, however, will not feature in the first game scheduled for Friday. Instead, Vesawkar’s unavailability has opened up chance for another bowler to sneak into the team for the crucial game. Nepal left for Hong Kong with seven batsmen and after Sharad’s exit, they will be fielding five bowlers.
Considering the small Tin Kwong Road Recreation grounds, Nepali bowlers will now face a stiff challenge to prove themselves. Nepali coach Jagat Tamatta had already said that they can field five bowlers after assessing the condition of the wicket. Left-arm veteran spinner Basant Regmi is the most successful bowler for Nepal in WCLC with 10 wickets and fast bowler Sompal Kami has 10 scalps to his named.
Khadka, leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and Sagar Pun have seven wickets apiece, while Vesawkar had produced Nepal’s best bowling figures in the tournament snapping 4-28 against Kenya in their home match in March. In a different wicket, Tamatta thinks a good opportunity lies ahead for Nepali bowlers.
“This wicket is different from the ones that we had played previously. The bowler needs to deliver at the right spot and if we stick to our basics then we can make our day,” said Tamatta. “The amount of grass that we can see in the pitch today suggests us to go with three fast bowlers. But if they perish by tomorrow morning, then we can go with an extra spinner,” Tamatta added.
If Nepal go with three seamers, Lalit Singh Bhandari is likely to make his debut, while Sushan Bhari Shrestha or Sushil Kandel can get their first game if an extra spinner is added in the side. While Gyanendra Malla and Sagar Pun will open the innings, Khadka will bat at No 3 following Sharad’s withdrawal. Khadka will be followed by Dipendra Singh Airee, Aarif Sheikh and Binod Bhandari in the middle order.
“Not having Sharad is a big disadvantage but the team comes first. I am ready to bat No 3. We had a brief training session on Thursday and we had tried out our main batsman in all position according to the match scenario. So, its time for all of us to take the responsibility,” said Khadka.
Hong Kong prepared for tournament in Australia and their newly recruited coach Simon Cook doesn’t want to take Nepal lightly. “In any format of the game, Nepal are always tough opponents for Hong Kong. We know each other very well and I am sure its going to be good contest,” said Cook.
Nepal last played Hong Kong in the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh where half centuries from Gyanendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee saw them win the match by seven wickets. Nepal, who are at the sixth spot in the table with eight points, are under must-win situation to stay alive to finish inside the top four and make it to the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. Hong Kong are fifth with 11 points.