KATHMANDU, Oct 30: Nepal U19 cricket team’s head coach Binod Das has said that the Bangladesh tour where his team will play three practice matches against the home team would not be any less important than the Asia Cup itself.
The Nepali young team is taking part in the ACC U-19 Youth Asia Cup to be held in Malaysia from November 11 to 19, and Das believes that the practice matches against Bangladeshi U-19 side ahead of the continental tournament will be vital.
Bangladesh is one of the Test playing nations to take part in the Asia Cup.
“Three practice matches against Bangladesh will be equally important as Asia Cup because it will be reality check for us. We will know where we stand in terms of quality before travelling to Malaysia to face heavyweights,” said head coach Das.
The Nepali team that is leaving for Bangladesh on Monday will face the Asia Cup opponent on November 2, 4 and 5 at Krira Shikkha Protisthan ground.
Besides Bangladesh, four other Test playing nations--India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan--will be participating in the Asia Cup along with three other non-Test playing countries.
Nepal got an opportunity to take part in the competition as the winner of ACC U-19 Eastern Region while the Western Region champion also joins the competition. Malaysia is participating in the competition as the host.
The Western Region competition featuring Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Iran, Kuwait, Maldives, and Qatar will be held in Malaysia from December 31 to November 7.
“Since Bangladesh is also going to take part in the Asia Cup, we may have to face them again in the competition. So facing them in practice matches will be beneficial for us,” added Das: “And it will also give us confidence for the upcoming matches against strong Test playing nations.”
Meanwhile, team selection committee comprising of head coach Das Venkatapathy Raju (ACC Consultant) has finalized the 15-member squad for Asia Cup while four players are kept in reserve. The same team will travel to Bangaldesh.
Das has continued Dipendra Singh Airee as the captain of the team. Airee had replaced Sandeep Lamichhane as the skipper of the team from the ACC U-19 Eastern Region tournament that was held last month.
Rasid Khan and Jitendra Singh are the new faces of the team while Prakash KC, Kamal Singh Airee, and Bhim Sarki have made comeback.
Rohit Kumar Paudel, Sandeep Sunar, Pranit Thapa Magar, Anil Kumar Sah, Pawan Sarraf, Mahamad Asif Sheikh, Kishor Mahato and Shahab Alam are other players to make final cut in the squad. Sundeep Jora, who was part of the team during Eastern Region tournament, is kept in reserve along with Bikarm Kumar Bhusal, Ankit Subedi and Bijay Chaudhary.
The players are chosen on the basis of their performances during the practice matches played in the closed-camp and Eastern Region tournament, according to Das.
A total of 24 players were called in the 17-day long closed-camp in Kathmandu.
The players in the preliminary squad were divided into two groups, and played four practice matches between them, informed Das.
He also said that the closed-camp was especially focused on batting. “We had Monty Desai as batting consultant during the camp and he will also travel to Bangladesh with the team. Together, we have worked hard to improve the batting of players,” said Das.
The former national team skipper Das also believes that the Bangladesh tour will be a chance to see how much his players have improved in batting.
According to Das, the players have also worked hard in the fitness part during the camp under the fitness trainer from India.