March 25, 2017 12:50 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, March 25: National cricket team head coach Jagat Tamata says that the ACC Emerging Teams Cup will be a great opportunity for giving exposure to young talents who are likely to replace the old guards in the future.
“Senior players of the team are not going to be with us forever so we have to make our younger players ready for the future. And this tournament is going to be a big chance for us to give exposure to our young talents,” said Jagat Tamata, head coach of the national team.
A 15-member squad announced for the Emerging Teams Cup scheduled for March 27 to April 3 in Bangladesh has many new faces including Dipesh Shrestha and Mahamad Asif Sheikh. Regular captain Paras Khadka, veteran left arm spinners Shakti Gauchan and Basant Regmi alongside fast bowler Sompal Kami are the absentees of the squad. Paras is still not fit while the other three bowlers have been rested.
“Lots of talented young players are emerging but they need proper chance if we want to build up a team around them for future. So this tournament has been a perfect platform to test young players in the competition,” added Tamata.
He also said that the exclusion of senior players hasn't necessarily made the team weak. “Young players who are included in the team have quality and more importantly we have prepared well as we are in training since a long time,” added Tamata.
Nepal, alongside fellow associate nations Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Malaysia will contest with U-23 teams of the Test-playing nations including host Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the second edition of the tournament.
Nepal, which is pitted in Group B of the tournament, will start its campaign facing Pakistan in the opening match at Sheikh Kamal International Cricket Stadium, Cox's Bazar. Similarly, Nepal will compete against another Test-playing nation Bangladesh on March 27 and faces Hong Kong in its last group-stage match on March 30. Meanwhile, Group A consists of India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Malaysia. The top two teams from each group will book their places in the last four.
Tamata said that the Nepali team has the ability to compete against all the opponents participating in the tournament. “We have good team, so I am confident we will give strong fight to the Test-playing nations as well,” said Tamata.
As Hong Kong also is in the same group, facing it will be a good preparation for the upcoming clash against the same team in the ICC World Cricket League Championship, said Tamata.
Nepal doesn't have a good record in the Emerging Teams Cup as it had lost all the matches in the first edition held in Singapore four years back. It failed to register a single win in the group stage given the three defeats out of three matches against U-23 teams of India and Pakistan alongside Afghanistan.
Gyanendra Malla who is captaining the side in the absence of Paras Khadka says making the semifinal of the tournament beating two Test-playing nations in the group stage is possible. “Our target is to progress from the group stage and it is not impossible to do that. We have the ability to beat the Test-playing nations,” said Malla, who will be in the opener's role. Sunil Dhamala is likely to partner Malla in the opening match like in the ICC World Cricket League Championship match against Kenya held at the TU grounds on March 11 and 13. The Nepali team will leave for Bangladesh on Saturday.