Kathmandu-Cricket Association of Nepal has revealed the names of 14 member squad who will represent Nepal in ACC U-19 Premier League to be played in Kuwait from November 5 to 15.
The 6 team tournament is basically a qualifier for 2016 U-19 World Cup . The winner of the tournament goes directly through to the mega event to held in Bangladesh in 2016 while the runner up will play against the runners up of other four regions(America, Europe, Africa, EAP) in a global qualifier for the remaining one spot.
Nepal once powerhouse of Associate U-19 teams featuring in as many as 6 U-19 World Cups from 2000 to 2012 have been declining at U-19 level. Afghanistan will be toughest challenge in Nepal’s bid to making it to the 7th U-19 World Cup. Nepal last played U-19 World Cup in 2012 in Australia. Subash Khakurel, Prithu Baskota, Pradeep Airee, Naresh Budayair, Sagar Pun, Avinash Karn, Rahul Viswakarma and Bhuwan Karki now play for the senior side.
Participating Teams : Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Kuwait and Nepal.
Nepali squad will be lead by Raju Rijal and member of Division 3 winner Aarif Seikh will be his deputy. Both Rijal and Seikh have represented Nepal in U-19 Asia Cup held in UAE a year back where Nepal played against U-19 Squads of India and Pakistan. Opening batsman Sunil Dhamala and Prem Tamang from that squad also make it to this years’ team.
Arjun Chapagain(wk), Ashish Dhami, Dipendra Airee, Irshad Ahmed, Yogendra Karki, Dipesh Shrestha, Saurab Khanal, Sandip Sunar, Sankar Rana, Sushil Kadel, make up the final fifteen.
Nepal finished fourth in the previous edition of ACC’s U-19 event. This tournament played for the first time in a league format will give Nepal better chance of finishing in the top 2.
Afghanistan U-19 who beat Pakistan U-19 2-1 in the recently concluded One Day series are easy favorites for the tournament. Nepal had a bad tournament last year where they finished 4th losing to UAE in the semis and against Malaysia for the third place staging their worst show at this level.