KATHMANDU, August 28: All-rounder Dipendra Singh Airee has replaced Sandeep Lamichhane as captain of Under-19 squad announced for ACC U-19 Eastern Region Cricket Tournament 2017 on Sunday. Leg-spinner Lamichhane led Nepal in unsuccessful campaigns of U-19 Asia Cup in December 2016 and Asian Qualifiers for ICC U-19 World Cup 2018 held in Malaysia in July.
Head Coach Binod Das underscored on giving the opportunity to Dipendra Airee as a part of developing skills and capacity as a player. "It is an ideal opportunity for us to test Airee as a team leader. Sandeep has done his part. Now, it's time for Airee to come forward. It was a decision taken in the best interests of the team" said Coach Das.
Former U-16 captain Sumit Maharjan, all-rounder Sandeep Jhora, leg-spinner Bikram Kumar Bhusal and pace bowler Nandan Yadav replaced batsman Aadil Khan, wicket-keeper Prakash KC, pace bowler Rijan Dhakal and left arm spinner Lalit Rajbanshi in the final 14-men-squad for Eastern Region championships to be held in September. Rajbanshi and Prakash KC are demoted to reserves along with pace bowlers Kamal Singh Airee and Rijan Dhakal.
"Bikram Bhusal impressed in the closed camp and from Lamichhane's success in Malaysia last time, we came to a conclusion that a leg-spinner will be a better option for us to pose a threat to our opponents," said Das on the inclusion of rookie spinner ahead of consistent performer Rajbanshi.
Opener Aasif Sheikh has retained his place in the squad despite continuous failures with the bat. However, he is set to keep wickets in absence of any other recognized wicket-keeper in the squad. Das, who seemed supportive to Shiekh argued that he is a talent needed for the team. “Aasif performed well in closed camp. He is the best option to open for Nepal U-19 and he will keep wickets too. Anil Sah is our back up wicket-keeper," he said.
Sandeep Sunar, Pranit Thapa Magar and Anil Kumar Sah also retained their place in the squad as batsmen. Pawan Sarraf and Rohit Poudel will continue to do the dual duties of batting and bowling for team Nepal. Pace bowler Kishore Mahato and left arm spinner Shahab Alam are other bowlers in the squad.
The selection committee was headed by Head Coach of Nepal national team Jagat Tamatta and Head Coach of Nepal U-19 cricket team Binod Das.
The team is set to travel Malaysia on September 8, 2017, for upcoming ACC U-19 Eastern Region Cricket Tournament. The top two teams of the tournament will qualify for U-19 Asia Cup to be held in November 2017. Nepal is seeded in Group A along with Singapore, Thailand and Bhutan. Group B consists of Hong Kong, China, Myanmar and host team Malaysia.