Cricket Namibia has announced the match schedule for the upcoming ICC World Cricket League Division 2 where six teams will participate, that might decide the fate of Cricket in Nepal.
Four teams namely Nepal, Kenya, Namibia and United Arab Emirates that relegated from ICC World Cricket League Championship 2015-2017 will be joined by Canada and Oman, who secured promotion from ICC WCL Division 3. Top two teams of the event will get a step closer to ICC World Cup 2019 as they will qualify for the ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018.
As per the schedule, Nepal will kick off its tournament facing the host Namibia in February 8 before taking on Oman in the second match the day after. They will continue the campaign facing UAE, Kenya and Canada in February 11, 12 and 14 respectively. The final and playoff will be played on February 15.
The 18-match tournament will take place across three venues in Windhoek, Wanderers, WAP and Trustco UNITED.
Canada captain Nitish Kumar said: “We have been training hard with team gym sessions and nets. We have also had a selection tour to Barbados where we got a chance to play four games. Next week, we will be heading to South Africa, where we will practice on turf and play some practice games leading up to ICC World Cricket League Division 2.
“I am very excited for the event, we have been working so hard, so I believe it is time to convert that into performances and get Canada back to where we were four years ago.”
Kenya captain Rakep Patel said: “Qualifying would be the culmination of a journey that started when the World Cricket League cycle begun. We are thankful to have another shot at the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. We are excited about proving to ourselves that we belong here.
“We have been having regular training sessions and we will play some warm-up games against Zimbabwe A before travelling to Namibia. Having played in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, there is no bigger stage for a cricketer than the World Cup.”
Namibia captain Sarel Burger said: “Preparations have been going well, we are currently still busy in our Cricket South Africa competition in which we have been doing really well. We hope that we can carry this momentum into ICC World Cricket League Division 2. Players understand their roles in the team and players are taking more responsibility, so that is really exciting to see.
“Qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier is only the first step, but it would be the reward for exceptional hard work for a long period of time. This qualification process started a couple of years ago, it would be of huge benefit to cricket in Namibia if we were to qualify.”
Nepal captain Paras Khadka said: “ICC World Cricket League Division 2 will be like a royal rumble where every team will give their best in order to seal their places for next level. Therefore, this tournament means a lot to Nepal cricket.
“I am hopeful that we will get through this tournament as it is a stepping stone to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. We are excited that we are just two steps away from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.”
Oman captain Sultan Ahmed said: “Our preparations have been playing practice matches locally and against the USA at home, which we won 3-0, and against Hong Kong in the UAE, which we won 2-1. We are all looking forward to the ICC World Cricket League Division 2.”
UAE captain Rohan Mustafa captain, said: “The players are very excited to be given this opportunity to compete against such quality teams over a short timeframe. I have every confidence that we will do well in this tournament.
“It would be a fantastic achievement for us to qualify; it would a great morale boost for the team, as well as be a positive boost for the UAE’s cricketing future.”
Canada: Nitish Kumar (captain), Bhavindu Adhihetty, Cecil Pervez, Dhanuka Pathirana, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Hamza Tariq, Srimantha Wijeyeratne, Junaid Siddiqui, Nicholas Kirton, Navneet Dhaliwal, Nikhil Dutta, Dilon Heyliger, Saad Zafar, Satsimranjit Dhindsa
Kenya: Rakep Patel (captain), Collins Obuya, Gurdeep Bhagat, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Karim, Nelson Odhiambo, Shem Ngoche, Hiren Varaiya, Nehemiah Ngoche, Emmanuel Ringera, Lucas Ndandason, Rushabhvardhan Patel, Alex Auma, Karan Kaul
Namibia: Sarel Burger (captain), Jean Milner Bredenkamp, Stephan Baard, Petrus Jacobus Burger, Merwe Gerhard Erasmus, Jan Nicolaas Frylinck, Zane Edward Green, Jean-Pierre Kotze, Lohandre Louwrens, Bernhard Scholtz, Johannes Smit, Louis van der Westhuizen, Christoffel Viljoen, Craig Williams
Nepal: Paras Khadka (captain), Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Basant Regmi, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Sompal Kami, Anil Kumar Sah, Rohit Kumar Paudel, Karan KC, Md. Arif Sheikh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dipendra Singh Airee, Dilap Nath, Lalit Bhandari
Oman: Sultan Ahmed (captain), Aaqib Ilyas Sulehri, Ahmad Fayyaz Butt, Ajay Vrajlal Lalcheta, Swapnil Sunil Khadye, Bilal Khan, Khawar Ali, Muhammed Nadeem, Muhammad Naseem, Zeeshan Maqsood, Jay Viram Odedra, Jatinder Singh, Vaibhav Shridhar Wategaonkar, Kaleemullah Kaleemullah
United Arab Emirates: Rohan Mustafa (captain), Muhammad Ashfaq Ahmed, Ghulam Shabbir, Rameez Shahzad, Muhammad Boota, Muhammad Usman, Adnan Mufti, Shaiman Anwar, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Qadeer Ahmed, Muhammad Naveed, Muhammad Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan
The match officials are:
Match Referee – Dev Govindjee
Mentor Umpire – Langton Rusere
Umpires – Claude Thorburn, Kalidas, Alex Dowdalls, Sarika Prasad, Buddhi Pradhan, Akbar Ali Khan, Tabarak Dar and David Odhiambo