Victorious U-16 cricketers seek Exposure
A triumphant Nepali team on Thursday returned home with their first ever ACC U-16 Premier League title but sought better exposure so as to ensure their high standard in the long run.
Nepal ended their five-year wait for an age-group trophy after defeating Malaysia by 32 runs in what turned out to be a final match of the ACC U-16 Premier League at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday. The title also made Nepal the only team to claim all age-group tournaments organised by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
Skipper Sumit Maharjan said the success should be a beginning for him and fellow team members. “I want to break into the national team some day but the path is not easy. We need opportunities to play at a higher level so that we get enough exposure to polish ourselves. We can gain maturity if we get proper training,” said Maharjan.
Coach Basanta Shahi Thakuri, who became the first home-grown coach to land an international title, praised the team for their professional display. “They played with a great team spirit and stuck to the plans that we had set prior to every match,” said Thakuri.
“Their performance never looked like a set of inexperienced players that had embarked on the tough event. Even the 13-year old Anil (Kharel), who picked up 13 wickets and was named the Most Promising Player of the tournament, displayed tough mental strength,” added Thakuri. “This is just a beginning. We have to make sure that they are not ignored just because they are juniors. If given better exposure, they have the potential to rise above their ranks.”
Nepal owed much to Kharel and right-arm spinner Jitendra Singh for their success. Singh picked up 15 wickets and was named the best bowler of the tournament. Assistant coach Raju Basnyat didn’t want to single out an individual for the success.
“All played their part in the triumph,” said Basnyat. “For the past few years, we have been worrying on the dearth of new talents but these cricketers have signalled new hopes.”
Singh knew how important the U-16 Premier League success could be. “This is probably a boost that every cricketer wants in the beginning of his career. I will keep working hard so that I can reach more heights,” said Singh.
PM Koirala congratulates team
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Thursday congratulated the national team for their ACC U-16 Premier League triumph in Malaysia.
“It is a matter of pride to see the national team winning the U-16 title defeating every other opponent with a huge margins. I congratulate the team personally as well as on behalf of the government and Nepali Congress.”
Koirala added: “The success achieved by the national teams in the few years has made me curious. I request all the cricketers to maintain the momentum for the pride of the country.”
The government has also committed Rs 50,000 to each member of the winning team. Youth and Sports Minister Purushottam Poudel said the rewards was for the motivation of the cricketers. “We are committed to award our heroes as we have to follow a due procedure,” said Poudel. Cricket Association of Nepal is also rewarding each member with Rs 20,000 for their achievement.