Nepal announce 15-member squad for ACC U19 Asia CupSandeep Jora, Asif Sheikh and Surya Tamang back into the fold after missing out of the ACC Eastern Region Qualifiers.
Nepal on Thursday announced a 15-member squad for the ACC U-19 Asia Cup cricket tournament scheduled for September 5-14 in Sri Lanka.
Batsman Sandeep Jora, wicketkeeper-batsman Asif Sheikh and left-arm spinner Surya Tamang made it to the final list having previously ignored for the ACC Eastern Region Qualifiers. Bishal Bikram KC and Tilak Bhandari missed out having included for the Eastern Region Qualifiers. Rit Gautam, who scored a century in the ACC Eastern Region Qualifier against Singapore, and other notable performers including Kushal Malla and spinner Sagar Dhakal have kept their place in the squad.
The U-19 team coach Binod Das said they were looking forward to playing in the tournament and have prepared well for it. "It is a tournament we have competed earlier and we are looking forward to putting our best performance again," said Das. Regarding inclusion of Sandeep and Asif, Das said they have been performing well in practice matches and the team needed all the firepower to do well in the tournament. "We count ourselves to put up a good show. We are not shying away from the competition just due to some big cricketing names. We are expecting to reach the semi-finals but we need to give our best for that," he added.
Nepal are pitted against Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates in Group 'B' while Group 'A' consists of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kuwait. Nepal will start their tournament against Sri Lanka on September 6. Their second match will be against Bangladesh two days later before wrapping up their group matches with a clash against familiar foes the UAE on September 10. The semi-finals will be held on September 12 while the final is slated for September 14.
Das said they are studying their opponents and were also trying to gather as much knowledge about the pitch as possible. "We know a thing or more about the UAE team but information about Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi team is very little. Still we are trying to gather more information about them," said Das. Das said their strategy for matches will be formulated only after knowing each opposition team and the pitches well.
Nepal had qualified for the tournament after winning the ACC U-19 Eastern Region cricket tournament title in Kuala Lumpur in July. Nepal defeated Hong Kong in the final as only the winners were guaranteed a place in the ACC U-19 Asia Cup. Nepal’s best run in the tournament came in 2017 when they made it to the semi-finals for the first time in their cricket history. It was during that run that Nepal stunned India in the group stage, the first ever victory against the Test-playing giants in any form of cricket.
Nepal squad in full: Rohit Kumar Pauel (captain), Rit Gautam, Pawan Sharraf, Asif Sheikh, Sandeep Jora, Bhim Sarki, Hari Bahadur Chauhan, KUshal Malla, Rashid Khan, Kamal Singh Airee, Sagar Dhakal, Khadak Bahadur Bohara, Surya Tamang, Lokesh Bahadur Bam and Pratis GC