** Last updated – January 19, 2024 **
Nepal has consistently been among the top associate members at the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, qualifying on eight occasions and twice advancing to the second round (in 2000 and 2016). The Youth team has recorded victories against many top teams in the World Cup. After missing out on the 2020 edition due to the D/L method, Nepal were forced out in the 2022 edition too.
The Nepalese team produced a miraculous win against UAE U19 to qualify for the U19 World Cup 2024. They registered a ten-run win from the jaws of defeat to secure a spot in the mega event.
Having already featured seven times and ready for the eighth appearance in the U-19 World Cup, Here are the captains that led Nepal in the mega event of youth cricket :
1. Binod Das (2000, 2002)
Nepal marked their presence in the U-19 World Cup for the first time in 2000, qualifying as the top two teams at the 1999 Youth Asia Cup along with Bangladesh. Binod Das aged 16, led Nepal with Mehboob Alam, Aamir Akhtar, Paras Luniya, Kiran Agrawal, and Raju Basnet in the squad. In the maiden appearance, Nepal finished second in Group C after defeating Kenya, while the match against Pakistan and South Africa was abandoned. Later Nepal remained winless in the second round, beaten by England, India, and Srilanka.
In 2002, Nepal defeated PNG and Test Nation Pakistan however, England and Pakistan progressed ahead, having a better NRR. Roy Dias was the team’s head coach, with Basanta Regmi, Shakti Gauchan, Sanjam Regmi, Kaniska Chaugai, Manoj Katuwal, Bardan Chalise, and Lakpa Lama in the squad.
2. Shakti Gauchan (2004)
Nepal was again selected for the mega event finishing on top in the Youth Asia cup 2003. Having placed in Group ‘B’ along with England, South Africa, and Uganda, Shakti Gauchan’s side finished third in the group. Despite having equal points, England and South Africa progressed, having a better NRR.
Major remembrance of this edition is Nepal beating South Africa in an absolute thriller. Skipper Gauchan’s marathon inning (51* from 140 balls) helped Nepal chase the target of 157 with two balls spare.
3. Kanishka Chaugai (2006)
Nepal once again marked their presence in the U-19 World Cup after finishing on top in ACC U-19 Cup. While winning only one match, Nepal again finished third in the group stage. Zimbabwe and England sailed ahead with better results. Skipper Chaugai was a standout performer with a bat, scoring 234 runs throughout the tournament. Basant Regmi grabbed 12 wickets in the tournament.
Positives from the tournament were Nepal defeating New Zealand and South Africa in the plate matches.
4. Paras Khadka (2008)
Beating Namibia and losing against mighty Australia and Sri Lanka, Nepal yet again finished third in the Group stage. Skipper Paras Khadka was the standout performer picking up 12 wickets and piling up 113 runs from six matches. Nepal finished 10th after losing a plate final against West Indies. Gyanendra Malla, Mahesh Chhetri, Amrit Bhattarai, Anil Mandal, and Rahul BK were some famous names in the squad.
5. Prithu Baskota (2012)
Despite having a decent squad, Nepal’s 2012 edition didn’t go well. Nepal turned winless in the group stage after being thrashed by England and Australia, while Ireland also stunned Prithu’s side. Later, Nepal finished 13th, defeating Namibia and PNG. Rahul Bishwakarma ended as the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament picking up 13 wickets.
6. Raju Rijal (2016)
The 2016 edition is Nepal’s most successful edition, along with the first series in 2000. Nepal defeated New Zealand and Ireland to finish second in the group, behind India. Bangladesh, who later cinched the trophy, defeated Nepal in the quarterfinal. Raju Rijal and co had a painful ending to the contest losing against Pakistan in a 5th place playoff and Namibia in a 7th place contest. Losing against Namibia cost Nepal a lot as they missed a chance for a direct qualification in 2018’s edition being a top associate team.
Sandeep Lamichhane, who took a fifer along with a hat trick against Ireland, finished as the tournament’s second-highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets. There were some concerns about the eligibility of Nepal’s captain, Raju Rijal, with reports stating he was over 19 years of age. However, the ICC was satisfied that his date of birth was correct.
7. Dev Khanal (2024)
Dev Khanal becomes the seventh skipper to lead Nepal in the U19 World Cup and joins the list of elite players. Nepal qualified for the tournament after a miraculous win over UAE in the final. Dipesh Kandel picked up a hat trick to wrap up UAE and secure Nepal’s spot.
The U19 World Cup 2024 will be played from January 19 to February 11 in South Africa. Nepal is placed in Group D alongside Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan.