By Harry Yadav
(For latest cricket update, follow on twitter @yadavharry927)
The kind of historical, cultural, political and geographical link that Nepal share with India make crazy Nepali fans to dream of beating power house of cricket (India) all the time. But the dream is no more dream.
Nepal U19 came out victorious when Dipendra Singh Airee led side was up against India U19 in last ACC U19 Asia Cup. What value that win carry you can guess by former Nepali Captain and current U19 coach Binod Das ‘s eyes was full of tears after match, Social media was full of congratulatory message over a week, many filmy celebraties and political leaders including the then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba can’t stop himself to tweet.
With that historical win Nepal U19 reached semifinal of the tournament for the first time, only to be denied to reach final by Mujeeb Ur Rahman ‘s magical spell. But all these are history now and Nepal U19 will start same tournament against India U19 from September 29 with new hope this time.
Here are the strength, weakness, game plan,predicted XI and players to watch out for Nepal U19 in U19 Asia Cup:
Spin department had been major strength of Nepal over the years and this U19 team is no different. Team is full of talented spinners like Sagar Dhakal, Pawan Sarraf and Surya Tamang. Even in recently concluded quadrangular series duo of Dhakal and Sarraf bowled really well and shared 13 wickets between them. And with talented off spinner Surya Tamang joining the duo, Nepal U19’s spin department is looking most threating part for the opposition to counter against Nepal U19.
With regular member of senior side Rohit Paudel joining experience U19 campaigner Bhim Sharki, Pawan Sarraf and highest run scorer for Nepal U19 in India tour Sundeep Zora in middle order, middle order is looking decent. Most of the runs is expected to be scored by these extremely talented middle order batsmen for Nepal side.
Top order will be major area of concern for Nepal U19 going into the tournament. Coach Binod Das tried various options at the top in quadrangular series but none of them proved their potential.There is no doubt about the talent that captain and opener of the team Aasif Seikh possess but he is running out of form since a long.Other available options at the top haven’t got good exposure.
There are three frontline pacers in the form of Kamal Singh Airee, Rashid Khan and Nandan Yadav in the team. But there are question marks that how they will perform in Bangladesh. Even in India tour,apart from Airee other pacers didn’t picked much wickets.
Win the toss,bat first, put 200+ runs on the board and let spinners rule the game will be the mantra for Nepal U19 in the tournament. If bowled first then Nepal U19 will try to restrict opposition under 170 to fancy it’s chance of chasing in the second inning.
While talking about Nepal’s route to reach semifinal, Nepal U19 will fancy it’s chance over U.A.E U19 and will try to pipped out one of India U19 and Afghanistan U19 to enroute to semis.
If you break out squad then you will see there are 9 batsmen, 1 spin bowling allrounder and 5 bowlers (3 pacers and 2 spinners). It will be intresting to see weather Das and co. will play 2 specialist spinners or rely on Sarraf for second spin option and play one extra pacer. Among 11 places in the XI, 9 places are almost certain.
(1) Trit Raj Das
(2) Md. Aasif Seikh(C & WK)
(3) Rit Gautam/Ravindra Jung Sahi/Ravi Shah/Arun Airee
(4) Sundeep Zora
(5) Rohit Paudel
(6) Bhim Sharki
(7) Pawan Sarraf
(8) Kamal Singh Airee
(9) Rashid Khan
(10) Sagar Dhakal
(11) Nandan Yadav/Surya Tamang
Players to watch out:
(1) Rohit Paudel
He is a very talented middle order batsman and had already won bulk matches for senior team in division two and CWQ but in recent days he was struggling with the form.Senior team selection committee will have close eye on his performance in the tournament.
(2) Sagar Dhakal
He is a another rising left arm Spinner of country.He was highest wicket taker for Nepal U19 in India tour.It will be interesting to see how he will perform in Bangladesh.
(3) Sundeep Zora
He has shown great batsmanship ablity in India tour.He is an another middle order batsman to look out from Nepal side in the tournament.A good performance in the tournament will open door for him in senior team.
Apart from team goal to reach semi-final or final, another goal for Das will be to find out another Lamichane or Dipendra Airee or Anil Shah from the tournament.
Nepal U19 are placed in Group A along with India U19, Afghanistan U19 and UAE U19.