Nepal is taking on hosts Namibia in the opening fixture of ICC World Cricket League Division 2 on February 8. With top two teams, getting spots in the World Cup Qualifiers next month in Zimbabwe, Nepal has its eye set on the top prize.
Speaking to media on the eve of the opening fixture, skipper Paras Khadka said the team is all set to convert all the hard-work in practice into the performance. “We have trained hard for this and the time has come to perform. It is not easy with opponents being strong too. So, we will take one game at a time,” said Khadka.
Nepal has been struggling with the batting in recent international fixtures but Khadka is optimistic about that being solved. “We have to improve our batting this time. Everyone must take up their responsibility and perform for the team,” he added.
“We have a good batting lineup. Training under batting consultant has helped us even more in match scenarios and tactics.”
Nepal roped in Sulakshan Kulkarni of India as batting consultant weeks before the tournament. Kulkarni was part of the Ranji winning Mumbai squad a few years ago and has been gaining a lot of appreciation from the team.
Nepal’s fate in the tournament will also decide the next four years of cricketing calendar. Nepal is forced to play Division 2 after failing to get into top four of World Cricket League Championship. Seventh placed Nepal is among the bottom four teams of WCLC which joined top two teams of Division 3 for the Division 2.
Nepal, along with hosts Namibia, UAE, Kenya, Oman and Canada are vying for the top two spots in Division 2.
Head coach Jagat Tamatta is well aware of the importance of the tournament. “We know this is a very important tournament for us. This will determine the next four years in international cricket. So, we have no option but to qualify for the world cuop qualifiers,” said Tamatta.
Nepal, who reached Namibia after a week long training camp in UAE, have had a content preparation in comparison to opponents. Nepal played three match against UAE ‘A’, which had only a few players with international experience. Even so, Nepal won two and lost a match.
Tamatta was not satisfied with the performance. The room for improvement has to be sorted as Nepal takes field against the hosts in the first match.