KATHMANDU, March 6: All rounder Dipendra Singh Airee has been included in the national cricket squad for on Sunday for the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) matches against Kenya. Nepal is playing against Kenya in its fifth round match of the WCLC at the TU grounds Kirtipur on March 11 and 13.
Veteran all-rounder Mehboob Alam and Md Arif Sheikh have marked comeback in the 14-member national team declared on Sunday under the captaincy of Paras Khadka.
Similarly, uncapped Sunil Dhamala has also retained his place in the national squad.
Though Sunil was included in Nepal’s last two fixtures of the tournament against the Netherlands played in August last year, he was not included in the starting list. However, he is likely to start against Kenya following impressive run with bat in the national team’s recent India tour held as part of preparations for upcoming matches. He collected 74 runs and 44 runs in the last two of the three matches played in India tour. He was not in the team’s first practice match. He is likely to pair with vice captain Gyanendra Malla in the role of opener.
Veteran Mehboob has made an entry to the team after being left out since Nepal’s fixtures against Papua New Guinea in November 2015. Arif had last played for the national team during the ICC World Cricket League Division Two in Namibia in January 2015.
Meanwhile, Raju Rijal, Rajesh Pulami Magar, Anil Mandal and Bikram Sob, included in Nepal’s last match of the tournament against the Netherlands held in August 2016, have been left out from the current squad. Rajesh, however, is listed in the list of four reserve players. Avinash Karn, Bhuwan Karki and Dilip Nath are the other three reserve players.
A selection committee headed by ICC representative Venkatapathi Raju, national team head coach Jagat Tamata and skipper Paras Khadka had picked the final squad.
ICC WCLC played in double round-robin format is the gateway for the 2019 World Cup.
The top four teams in the eight-team contest will earn direct ticket for 2019 World Cup Qualifiers. After playing four rounds (eight matches), Nepal stands sixth in the standings with six points. Kenya is one spot ahead of Nepal in the standings with eight points. Kenya has won four and lost as many matches.
Nepal had defeated Namibia in both matches played at the TU grounds while lost one and won one in its away match against the Netherlands. Similarly, Nepal faced defeats in both legs against Scotland and Papua New Guinea in away matches.Nepali Squad: Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla (vice captain), Sharad Vesawkar, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Basant Regmi, Sompal Kami, Sagar Pun, Binod Bhandari, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mehboob Alam, Md Arif Sheikh, Sunil Dhamala, Dipendra Singh Airee.