KATHMANDU: After a testing ACC U-19 Asia Cup earlier this month in Malaysia, Nepali U-19 boys are in their final preparation for another tough trial at the ICC U-19 World Cup in Queensland, Australia.
Nepali teams have been ‘giant killers’ in the U-19 World Cups where they have stunned Test playing nations South Africa, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and New Zealand but coach Pubudu Dassanayake is not buoyed by the tag. “Producing upset wins doesn’t necessarily mean we play good cricket,” said the coach after taking a 45-minute lunch break from a long training session on Friday.
“We will be up against some of the greatest teams of the world in Australia. Our target will be to perform better and make them believe that we also belong to their level,” added the coach. Pitted in Group ‘A’ Nepal will play against defending champions Australia and England apart from fellow associates Ireland in the August 11-26 event.
Nepal could have come out with an upset defeat of India in their Asia Cup match on June 26 only for the top order collapse to see them crash to 91 in 27.3 overs in a chase of 173 runs from 47. The coach admits the batsmen lacked character during India match and now he wants his boys to come out with intensity.
“Batting has improved and the boys have added some more shot. But, the only thing we need is the display of characters at a big stage. There are few guys who can play a leading role with batting. I am confident the boys will come out this time around,” he added. Skipper Prithu Baskota was also hopeful of evading from the submissiveness.
“The U-19 Asian Cup has given us a good experience and confidence as well. We are hopeful of not repeating the mistakes we did in Malaysia,” said the skipper. Prithu was least concerned with the limited training schedule due to monsoon rain and time constraints.
“We are going to compete in the World Cup but our preparation has not been of that level. But that doesn’t mean that we are mentally low. We have to do the best with the available resources and give our best,” added Prithu. When the team leaves for Australia on July 27, Nepal will end up training at home for just 18 days.
However, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has arranged an extra training session in Darwin before Nepal play official warm up matches against Papua New Guinea (August 7) and New Zealand (August 8). CAN member and Nepal’s tour manager for Australia, Kiran Rana, said the team will move early to compensate the monsoon loss.
“We will not be able to have a complete training session here so we decided to leave early. We will have four training sessions in Darwin and two friendly matches against the local clubs there so that we can acclimatise to the conditions,” informed Rana.
With the coach keeping faith on the same set of boys who played the Asia Cup in Malaysia, skipper Prithu is hopeful that the pressure of making the final cut in the bowling department will bring quality.
After Dassnayake called on Saurav Khanal, Ramnaresh Giri and Gopal Kumar Singh for the Asian Cup, the team now has five fast bowlers adding Krishna Karki and Avinash Karn. “There are now five bowlers in the side which will add more competition and that will certainly bring quality,” said Prithu.