Opportunity for youngsters in cash rich tournament

Nepal National Cricket Team members watch the practice match. Photo: Sharad Vesawkar

How much do you remember of last National Cricket Tournament in Nepal? But I still remember because I was there to witness Army Club triumphing the title over Armed Police Force by 5 wickets in the final, played at Tribhuvan University Cricket ground.

I still remember that final where Naresh Budhayer hit a six to finish off in a style. He remained unbeaten on 53 off 97 balls with 3 boundaries and a six. That day was March 24, 2015, now it’s been more than two years already.

When did Sharad Vesawkar last played the National tournament? Many of us would say 2015 but no, he was not playing that tournament citing his personal reasons which means his last appearance in a National tournament was in 2014. Vesawkar is all set to lead Central Development team this year.

There are many other memories from that tournament in 2015, Anil Mandal and Mahesh Chhetri’s memorable partnership, Paras Khadka not playing full tournament due to his busy schedule and Sanjam Regmi picking up his five-for just a day ahead of his marriage.

After 2015, Pubudu Dassanayake, the former head coach of National team found Sandeep Lamichhane and brought him to play for Nepal U19 team in ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup. Lamichhane became a sensational leg-spinner finishing the tournament becoming the second highest wicket taker as well as picked up a five-wicket haul against Ireland with a hat-trick. He also played Hong Kong T20 Blitz Cricket tournament with former Australian skipper Michael Clarke and later on, Clarke invited him to play for his academy in Australia.

Everything was going well and a suspension from International Cricket Council for Cricket Association of Nepal led to a full-stop in Nepalese domestic cricket.

It’s 2017, two years later, one big news came on the media. Nepal Sports Council (NSC) joining their hand with Kathmandu Cricket Training Center (KCTC) to organise the National tournament and with a new branding named as “Prime Minister Cup 2074”. That was one big announcement made my life happy but hold on, another announcement added more flavour. The tournament became the highest prize money tournament of Nepal till today and the winner would be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 20 lakhs and runners-up would get Rs. 10 lakh.

Time has passed so quickly, Lamichhane is now a regular member of Nepal National team. With the rise in a short span of time, he has achieved a lot of success and got praised from all across the globe but is yet to taste a National domestic tournament, that summed up the story of our domestic structure.

Now, Sandeep Lamichhane is all set to play his first National tournament from departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) under the leadership of Gyanendra Malla.

Likes of Dipendra Singh Airee, Sunil Dhamala, Saurav Khanal, Aarif Sheikh, Aasif Sheikh etc who have already showcased their talents in different levels will get more exposure and could gain a lot of experience. This is a big opportunity for youngsters like them.

Hopefully, we will see new talents in the national team with the hunger of taking wickets, scoring big runs and to win every single matches for their National jersey.

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