KATHMANDU, July 7: A good run of form in the Prime Minister (PM Cup) Cup has paved the way for opening batsman Pradeep Airee as well as wicket-keeper batsman Subash Khakurel back in the reckoning for the national squad to tour England and the Netherlands where Nepal will play the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Netherlands from July 29 to August 3 respectively.
Both batsmen, Airee and Khakurel, scored a century each in the recently concluded PM Cup with a record opening partnership leading a title-winning campaign for the Armed Police Force Club (APF). They will mark their return after the absence for four and three years respectively. Similarly, Binod Bhandari was also called up after being dropped for the ICC World Cricket League Division Two and the ICC World Cup Qualifiers tournament held earlier this year.
Similarly, Hari Bahadur Chhetri has been rewarded with the maiden call up after winning the emerging player of the tournament in the PM Cup. He also registered a unique record of smashing a century as well as picking up a hat-trick in the same match for Province 4 against Province 1.
Long term absentee from domestic scene, Sharad Vesawkar also made the squad whereas vice-captain Gyanendra Malla will mark his return from a groin injury that kept him out of the PM Cup. Youngsters Rohit Kumar Paudel, Dipendra Singh Airee and Aarif Shiekh will continue to contest for that middle order spots whereas Anil Kumar Sah is seen as a potential back up wicket-keeper in the absence of dropped Dilip Nath.
Veteran Basant Regmi will lead the bowling line with Shakti Gauchan retaining his place. Young left-arm spinner Lalit Rajbanshi will compete for the spinners spot with Susan Bhari who impressed in the PM Cup and the Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL). Sandeep Lamichhane remains the star presence in the squad with plenty of top quality T20 experience under his belt in the recent times. Pace battery will be headed by Sompal Kami with Karan KC and Lalit Bhandari touted to be his partners in helpful conditions of Europe.
The Selection committee was headed by the representative of ICC Aminul Islam, Nepal national cricket team head coach Jagat Tamatta & national team skipper Paras Khadka. The closed camp is set to start from Saturday with final 15-man squad to be finalized in two weeks time, informed Raman Shiwakoti, the team manager of Nepal cricket team.