2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup - Challenge Match
Windhoek, March 24 -27

In a game that will go a long way to determine the future direction of Nepal cricket, they take on Namibia in the opening match of the premier Associates competition, the ICC Intercontinental Cup.

The new format allows Nepal to join the UAE as Asia’s representatives in the competition, Nepal having earned the right to compete with Namibia for the coveted eighth spot by virtue of their competitive prowess in the region in current multi-day and one-day rankings.

Only one of the sides can progress to take part in the rest of the event where they will take on defending Intercontinental Cup champions Ireland, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates.

The other group comprises Bermuda, Canada, Kenya and the Netherlands and the final, set to take place in early 2007, will be between the two group winners.

Both teams will be asked stiff questions – by each other, their first venture into four-day cricket and the intensity of the situation. Much is at stake. ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake who has closely observed Nepal in recent years says, “The talent is there. The coaching is there. The desire is there but this is the biggest test yet of the team. If they play at their best they are a match for anyone.”

Nepal have to win the match to advance. Namibia only have to draw.

Roy Dias with his team


Nepal’s captain,
Binod Kumar Das

The ICC have themselves said “Success in Windhoek will offer a superb vehicle for players to develop” and everyone is aware just what this match represents. “It is so important for us, it is just critical,” said Namibian Cricket Board President Laurie Pieters. “If we do not get through it will set us back at least two years.”

Nepal’s coach Roy Dias points out, “If we can do well then we have the prospect of two years of continuous cricket. If we can get that, it will be very important to the development of our cricket because it will allow us to play outside the country, get lots of experience and mean we will need to improve our facilities and infrastructure at home,” he added.

Both teams have seasoned campaigners, with Nepal’s bowlers spearheaded by Binod Kumar Das, potentially having the edge over Namibia’s attack, whereas Namibia’s batsmen should be favoured in home conditions. However it is bowling that wins matches and Nepal have the bowlers to take twenty wickets.

Kanishka Chaugai

Local conditions in Windhoek, which has been exceptionally wet suggest that with the high water-table and lush outfield, the ball will retain its shine for considerable time and favour traditional swing-bowling.

No one expects the match to go into four full days but if it does, Nepal will somehow find a way to win. They are nothing if not gutsy performers.

On the eve of his departure from Kathmandu for Windhoek, Roy Dias said "This is a big chance for Nepalese cricket to get through to the international arena. I am sure my boys won’t waste the opportunity".

The winners of this match will travel to Scotland for a match starting on 11 May.

The Nepal squad:

Binod Das (RFM/RHB)
Shakti Gauchan (RHB/OB)
Paresh Lohani (RHB)
Dhirendra Chand (RFM/RHB)
Kanishka Chaugai (RHB)
Raj Kumar Pradhan (LB/RHB)
Sharad Vesawkar (RM/RHB)
Gyanendra Malla (RHB/OB)
Amir Akhtar (RFM/RHB)
Manoj Katuwal (WK/RHB)
Raju Basnyat (RM/RHB)
Mahaboob Alam (RFM/RHB)
Basanta Regmi (SLA/LHB)

Coach: Roy Dias

Manager: Srinivas Rana

Filed March 24 2006