Biraj Ghimire, Cricket Himalaya
Nepali Cricket is in critical phase both on and off the field. Crossing these hurdles will definitely enlighten the Cricket, which has been surrounded by dark clouds for several years. The tournament will be the break through tournament for Nepali Cricket, for the youths who are involved in this beautiful game, the huge diehard fans of Nepali Cricket, will definitely be charged again.
Namibia is not an unknown or mysterious place for Nepali Cricket. The majority of members of this team have already played over there. Last time Nepal participated in the same tournament, in 2015. The only difference is, we entered that tournament as the winner of Division 3 and now we are participating as the relegated side from Division 1. In addition to this, there are few changes in the opponents. Last time we had to play against Kenya, Namibia, Canada, Netherlands and Uganda. Now, the first three opponents are same, the remaining two are Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Nepal has played against all the 5 teams. They have won several matches against them and have dominated few of them in the past. The current squad is the mixture of experienced seniors and talented youths. Likes of Anil Shah, Rohit Poudel, Dilip Nath, Dipendra Singh Airee, Aarif Sheikh, Lalit Bhandari are the promising aspects and future of Nepali Cricket. And not to forget Sandeep Lamichhane, the first Nepali player to be selected for the 11th Edition of IPL. Though Namibian Condition is not familiar for spin bowlers but wrist spinners are always effective. They have become an integral part of all the above ranked teams, and have over shadowed the finger spinners. They can turn the match on their day.
Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Basanta Regmi, Sharad Vesawakar, Shakti Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Karan KC have played in 2015. Their role, knowledge, guidance are key for the new ones. They have played many games together. If the youths along with them click in this tournament then the qualifiers are not far for us.
The opponents are not unknown, we have already played against them and have won matches against them. The only thing that worries is our batting, if the batters are able to put some runs on board then definitely our bowlers will defend them. The short training with the experienced coach Kulkarni will also be vital. If the batsman will give their best, along with the bowlers, Nepal Team will definitely be in the top two and qualify for the World Cup Qualifiers. Now, we can just be hopeful and pray for our team, Nepal will be playing their first match against the home side Namibia on February 8th.
Feb 8th, Nepal vs Namibia, Affies Park
Feb 9th, Nepal vs Oman, Affies Park
Feb 11th, Nepal vs UAE, United Ground
Feb 12th, Nepal vs Kenya, Wanderers Cricket Ground
Feb 14th, Nepal vs Canada, Wanderers Cricket Ground
(All the matches will begin from 9:30 Local Time, 7:30 GMT and 13:15 NPT)