KATHMANDU, Jan 29: The Everest Premier League’s (EPL) franchise teams have finalized its respective squad of Nepali players for the upcoming season of T20 premier event in Kathmandu. Local players release, exchange and bidding for new players were completed on Tuesday.
Biratnagar Warriors spent the most in the first bidding process acquiring the services of left-arm spinner Anil Kharel for Rs 127,000, leg-spinner Bikram Bhusal for Rs 117,000 and middle-order batsman Saurabh Khanal for Rs 107,000. Likewise, the franchise had released Province 1 captain Pushpa Thapa, Sudur Paschim left-arm spinner Binod Lama, and Province 5 all-rounder Robeen Chhetri who represented the side for the last two years. Warriors are yet to announce any foreign players.
Pokhara Rhinos was the busiest team in the auction signing Nepal U-19 cricket team captain Rit Gautam for Rs 120,000, former U-19 captain Prithu Baskota for Rs 75,000, Province 2 all-rounder Bibek Kumar Yadav for Rs 60,000 and current U-19 wicket-keeper Bipin Rawal for Rs 50,000. It had released former Nepal player Rajesh Pulami Magar, Khanal (acquired by Warriors) and Province 5 wicket-keeper Subhendu Pandey to make room for new arrivals. It had replaced retired Shakti Gauchan with current U-19 batsman Lokesh Bam. Rhinos made the most changes to its squad from the last edition.
Likewise, Kathmandu Kings XI released a popular name in Siddhant Lohani, Bhusal (acquired by Warriors) and young batsman Puran BK. It acquired U-19 off-spinner Sher Malla for Rs 86,000, former Nepal left-arm pace bowler Amrit Bhattarai for Rs 51,000 and Sudur Paschim’s left-arm spinner Dipendra Rawat for Rs 51,000 to replace the released players. It also had exchanged marquee player Sompal Kami for Dipendra Singh Airee with Chitwan Tigers. However, the purchase of Sandeep Lamichhane was the biggest movement for the edition who left franchise Lalitpur Patriots.
Bhairahawa Gladiators made couple of changes to its local squad. Prakash KC and Bhupendra Thapa were released before being replaced by Sudur Paschim pace bowler Vikar Agri for Rs 50,000 in the first bidding process and wicket-keeper Himashu Dutta for Rs 55,000 in the second bidding process. Gladiators had announced the signing of West Indian player Dwayne Smith for the upcoming season after announcing Pubudu Dassanayake as head coach a few months ago.
Chitwan Tigers made only one change to its squad. U-19 batsman Khadak Bohara was purchased for Rs 50,000 in the second bidding process round after releasing Prithu Baskota, who was later acquired by Rhinos. Earlier, Tigers had exchanged Airee for Kami for the marquee role.
Lalitpur Patriots made no changes to the squad. The defending champions had announced the arrival of Sri Lankan batsman Upul Tharanga on Monday.