Nepal’s spinning allrounder, Pawan Sarraf, has been called up to the national squad for the upcoming ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup. Sarraf will replace Aarif Sheikh, who has withdrawn from the tournament due to family reasons. The tournament is scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka from July 13th to July 23rd, 2023.
Aarif Sheikh, known for his stability in the lower-middle order, played a crucial role in Nepal’s recent Cricket World Cup Qualifier campaign. He scored a composed half-century against West Indies. However, Sheikh has decided to skip the Emerging Asia Cup to attend to personal matters.
On the other hand, Pawan Sarraf last played in an ODI match for Nepal against Namibia approximately a year ago. He featured in the T20I series against Kenya in August 2022 and was dropped following poor form. Sarraf who can be handy with the bat and provide breakthroughs with his off-spin, has played eight ODIs and 17 T20Is for Nepal.
Nepal are set to miss a lot of star players in the tournament. Sandeep Lamichhane and Dipendra Singh Airee will be playing Canada’s Global T20. Gyanendra Malla, Karan KC and now Aarif Sheikh will also be not seen in Nepal Jersey.
ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup includes the ‘A’ teams of the five full members of the Asian Cricket Council, along with the top three teams from the 2023 ACC Men’s Premier Cup – Nepal, UAE, and Oman.
Afghanistan A, Sri Lanka A, Bangladesh A and Oman are placed in Group A, whilst Group B consists of India A, Pakistan A, Nepal and UAE. Nepal will play Pakistan A on the 14th of July. They will face UAE on 19th July after facing India A on July 17.
Nepal’s squad: Rohit Paudel (C), Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh, Dev Khanal, Pawan Sarraf, Kushal Malla, Sundeep Jora, Gulshan Jha, Sompal Kami, Surya Tamang, Shyam Dhakal, Bhim Sarki, Pratish GC, Lalit Rabanshi, Arjun Saud, Kishore Mahato