Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

MCC play their part in the exciting rise of Nepal

By Charles Randall

26 January 2015

The MCC are continuing their good work in helping lesser cricketing nations make their way in the game by drafting two promising Nepalese players places into their Young Cricketer set-up at Lord's. One day Nepal could be known for cricket as much as Mount Everest.

Nepal Under-19 internationals Raju Rijal, the captain and wicketkeeper-batsman, and Dipendra Singh Airee, an all-rounder, have had their 2015 places confirmed, following in the footsteps of Nepal compatriots Rajesh Pulami Magar and Naresh Budhayer in 2013.

The MCC have selected the senior Nepal captain, Paras Khadka, for their squad at the Emirates T20 in Dubai, a pre-season tournament with Lancashire, Yorkshire and Sussex near the end of March, and he is to appear alongside Alastair Cook in the annual four-dayer against the champion county, this time Yorkshire.

Khadka, 27, since his international under-19 debut against an England side captained by Cook, has achieved much with Nepal. After he took over the captaincy in 2009 Nepal rose from Division Five in the ICC World Cricket League to Division Two – no mean feat - and they played in World Cup qualifier matches in the 50-over format. Nepal's best achievement so far has been achieving international T20 status in 2014, and they exceeded expectations in the World T20 in Bangladesh by defeating Hong Kong and most notably Afghanistan.

Nepal started impressively in the recent ICC Division Two tournament in Namibia by beating Canada, Holland and Namibia, but their chances of promotion were hit by an agonising last-ball two-run defeat against last-placed Uganda, a side they thrashed in Division Three last October.  The league winners proved to be Namibia, and Netherlands, play-off winners, snatched the second promotion place into the Championship division when Nepal lost to Kenya in the final round of matches. This meant that a disappointed Khadka would not be playing in the top division against the likes of Ireland, Scotland and Afghanistan for at least another year.

No doubt Khadka will be the Nepal captain when they meet the MCC touring side in November.