KATHMANDU, June 19: Jitendra Kumar Mukhiya has made a comeback to the national cricket team setup after the selection committee announced a 25-men preliminary squad for ICC World T20 Asia Regional Final set to be held in Singapore next month.
Mukhiya earned a sudden international fame after producing goods for Nepal in the previous ICC World T20 event held in Bangladesh in 2014. But after that, poor form and injuries plagued the right-arm fast bowler’s career.
He gave an impressing performance for Tribhuvan Army Club in the recently concluded triumphant Prime Minister (PM) Cup One-Day Cricket Tournament.
In-form batsman Amit Shrestha, former U-19 captain Raju Rijal, left-arm spin duo of Susan Bhari and Shahab Alam, all-rounder Kushal Bhurtel, and young fast bowler Nandan Yadav also made it to the shortlist, which will be trimmed after the closed camp to final squad of 15 before the Asian marquee T20 qualifying event which will take place from July 20 to 28.
Shrestha played a lead role in Nepal Police Club’s PM Cup campaign. Rijal was the highest run getter in the tournament. Similarly, Bhurtel, Yadav, and Mukhiya made impressions with their bowling skills for Police, Province 3 and Tribhuvan Army Club respectively.
Likewise, the newcomers of the country’s last tour, in which Nepal won against the United Arab Emirates in both ODIs and T20Is series -- Bhim Sarki, Pawan Sarraf, Abinash Bohora and Sundeep Jora -- have been retained.
Middle-order veteran Sharad Vesawkar also made his return after missing the UAE series due to illness.
The selection committee was headed by ICC representative Aminul Islam, newly-elected head coach Umesh Patwal, and captain of national cricket team Paras Khadka.
The closed camp will start on Thursday in Kathmandu. A foreign preparation tour will also be announced in due course.
The first Asian sub-regional qualifier was held in Kuwait from April 20 to 27 last year followed by second sub-regional qualifier that took place in Malaysia between October 3 and 12. The top three teams in each group advanced to the regional finals tournament, which will determine two Asian entrants to the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier.
From the Western sub-region group, the UAE was the first team to qualify for the regional final. They were joined by Qatar and Kuwait. From the Eastern sub-region group, Nepal, Singapore and Malaysia qualified for the regional final.
However, in March, the ICC announced that the UAE would host for the global qualifier tournament, hence making them automatically qualified for the ICC event. Further, a team will qualify from the 5-team Asia Regional Final for the global qualifiers to be held later this year.