16-year old Birgunj all-rounder Aarif Sheikh and 18-year old bowler Ramnaresh Giri have received maiden call-ups to the national team after a string of strong performances in the domestic and U-19 matches as well as an impressive showing in the recently concluded National One Day Competition.
Sheikh’s man of the tournament performance in the pinnacle One Day tournament of the domestic structure topped off a remarkable period for him after continuous success in the age group matches, particularly in the last U-19 Asia Cup. Ramnaresh Giri also impressed the selectors by his attractive brand of cricket and got a place in the 14-man squad for the ACC Premiere League 2014.
Apart from these, experienced all-rounder Mehboob Alam and spinner Rajkumar Pradhan have made a well-deserved comeback to the national team. Though they both come into the team at the back of some strong performances over the past year, it will be interesting to see if they, especially Rajkumar Pradhan, can overcome the rust due to a long gap from international cricket. While Alam last featured in the national team in the ICC WT20 Qualifiers 2012, Pradhan has not been in the national team for almost six years. The last time he played for Nepal was in the 2008 ACC Trophy.
Among the other four players of the 18-man preliminary squad that didn’t make the final cut, Bhuwan Karki, Pushpa Thapa and Yagyaman Kumal have been named as reserve players, making Amrit Bhattarai the only player with no chance of making it to the tournament.
Pace bowler Jitendra Mukhiya, who impressed everyone in the ICC WT20 by his ability to bowl yorkers at will, was not in the preliminary squad to begin with due to injury.
P Khadka (c), G Malla, S Vesawkar, S Kami, S Gauchan, B Regmi, Rajkumar Pradhan, B Bhandari, M Alam, N Budhayair, S Pun, Ramnaresh Giri, S Khakurel, Aarif Sheikh
Reserves: Puspa Thapa, Y Kumal, B Karki