Nepal U-19 head coach Binod Das Lamichhane | Photo Courtesy: Binod Das / Facebook
KATHMANDU, Aug 7: Nepal U-19 cricket team is set to participate in quadrangular U-19 tournament hosted by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) from September 9th to 20th in Kolkata, India. India U-19, Afghanistan U-19 and National Cricket Academy-India (NCA) U-19 will be the other teams in the four-team event.
Nepal’s U-19 head coach Binod Das said the opportunity is a testimony of hard work that Nepal U-19 national team has put in the last few years. “We had a very good Youth Asia Cup last time. We defeated India U-19. Our junior national team is in the right direction. I wish the current suspension of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) will be solved as soon as possible so that these youngsters get a chance to develop themselves further,” said Das in conversation with Republica.
Nepal U-19 had defeated India U-19 in the previous edition of the U-19 Asia Cup in Malaysia in 2017. Similarly, Afghanistan U-19 beat Pakistan U-19 twice en-route to winning the Asia Cup trophy. The tournament brought many accolades for Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Nepal’s Dipendra Singh Airee and Sandeep Lamichhane.
As the tournament is just one month away, there is no possibility of hosting any domestic tournament to select U-19 players in the midst of rainy season. However, the coach was hopeful of hosting individual trials for the players who are willing to compete for the national team.
“It is difficult at the moment. With no board in place, we don’t have domestic games. Senior players still have private franchise leagues, but junior players simply stay idle for longer periods of time,” said the 35-year-old coach. “The board is suspended. The provinces are inactive. We are still working out on the possible ways to select the players. We might also open trials for fresh players to stake claim in the team.”
Das has his eyes firmly set on ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers later this year. The team touring to India will include fresh faces instead of eligible members of the senior squad. “We need to start building for ICC World Cup Qualifiers. We need to make best use of quality opportunities like this.”
“Whilst players like Dipendra Singh Airee, Sandeep Lamichhane and Rohit Paudel are still eligible for the junior team, we would like to try new faces to possibly increase our talent pool,” Das added. “These players are already part of the senior setup and will still be available for selection during the qualifiers team but for the time being we need to find new talents.”
Nepal is pitted in ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Asia Division 1 with Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and two other qualifying teams from Division 2.
The tournament will be a preparation tournament for three international teams prior to ACC (Asian Cricket Council) Youth Asia Cup scheduled to take place in October 2018 in Bangladesh. Both the tournaments will be played in 50-over format. Test nations India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan along with associate members Nepal, Hong Kong, and the UAE will participate in the eight-nation marquee U-19 Asian event.