Nepal national cricket team is steadily rising up the ladders of the ICC associate nations ladder. After becoming the ICC associate member in 1996, Nepal got the T20I status from ICC in 2014, enabling them to play in the 2014 ICC World T20, where they defeated Afghanistan.
Nepal also participated in ICC World Cup Qualifier in 2001 and 2014, ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Nepal’s first big tournament win came in 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division Five, where they defeated the USA.
Nepal is full of players with immense potential and some of their players have gained recognition at international level and are considered ready for the next step.
Here are 5 such players who are ready to make their mark in international cricket:
Dipendra Singh Airee
Dipendra Singh Airee was born on 24 January 2000 and was a part of Nepal’s U19 World Cup 2016 squad. He made his List A debut for Nepal against Kenya in the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship. He also captained the Nepal U19 team in the 2017 U19 ACC Asia Cup. Airee picked 4/39 against India, apart from making 88 runs while batting and earned a Man of the match award for his efforts.
Nepal U19 defeated the India U19 team in what is considered to be a big upset in the tournament, as India U19 were the defending champions; all thanks to Airee’s performance. Airee is currently playing for Nepal in the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament.
24-year-old Sagar Pun is a right-handed batsman and a right arm off-break bowler. Pun has played 9 T20I matches for Nepal so far, apart from 21 List A games and T20s. Sagar made his debut from the 2013 ACC Twenty20 Cup match against Singapore.
His biggest claim to fame came when he played a pivotal role in Nepal’s win over Afghanistan in the 2014 ICC WT20 in Bangladesh. In Feb 2015, he was selected to play for the Kurunegala Sports Club to play in the Emerging Trophy Tournament in Sri Lanka.
Pic Credits: WicketNepal.com
Binod Bhandari made his debut for Nepal in the 2009 ACC Twenty 20 Cup hitting a six off the last ball to tie the match for his team against Kuwait. Nepal then won the match in a bowl out. Bhandari then became a sensation in the emerging nation’s circuit, as he hit a ‘dilscoop’ to PNG bowler Gavera in Nepal’s successful 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier match.
“[Bhandari’s six] was one of the best shots I’ve seen,” said Tim Anderson, the ICC’s global development manager. He went Sri Lanka after being recruited by Kalutara Physical Culture Club to play in the Emerging Trophy Tournament in Feb 2015. Known for his penchant for hitting big shots, Bhandari is an important member of the Nepal T20 team.
Even Nepal captain Paras Khadka called him the most talented batsman in Nepal cricket.
Currently the vice-captain of the Nepal national cricket team, Gyanendra Malla is a stylish right-handed batsman and also keeps wickets occasionally. Gyanendra Malla was the 7th Nepalese cricketer to hit a century in international cricket, as he scored 114 against Singapore in 2014 ICC World Cricket League Division Three match.
Gyanendra Malla is one of the pillars of Nepal team, as unlike the other big hitting batsmen of his team, he tends to drop anchor and build his innings. Gyanendra Malla scored 83 runs in 3 innings for Nepal in the 2014 ICC World T20.
In the World Cricket League, from 2008 Division Five to 2015 Division Two, he has scored 1262 runs in 45 innings at an average of 36.06, with a hundred and seven fifties.
Sandip Lamichhane probably is the most famous Nepalese cricketer currently, after getting an IPL deal with Delhi Daredevils in the IPL 2018 auctions. 17-year-old Lamichhane is a talented right arm leg spinner, who has even caught the eyes of international cricketers like Michael Clarke, who invited him to play for Sydney-based Western Suburbs District Cricket Club in Australian club cricket circuit.
Lamichhane came into limelight during the 2016 U19 World Cup, as he took a hat-trick against Ireland U19 team and ended up with figures of 5/27. He ended the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets and all the eyes of the international cricket focused on this brilliant leggie from Nepal.
Lamichhane continued his good performance in 2017 ACC Under-19 Asia Cup, as he took 5/8, helping Nepal restrict Malaysia U-19 team to a total of 45. Lamichhane considers Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne as his cricketing idols.
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