KATHMANDU, June 2: Hasim Ansari, Gopal Kumar Singh, Saurav Khanal and Ram Naresh Giri have forced their way into the Nepali U-19 team as Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming U-19 Asia Cup to be held in Malaysia from June 23 to July 1.
Ansari was declared player of the series as well as the best batsman in the recently concluded Wai Wai U-19 National Cricket Tournament after scoring 176 runs and taking six wickets in the tournament.
Singh had taken eight wickets during the tournaments as well as impressed coach Pubudu Dassanayake during the closed camp training.
"Hasim (Ansari) is a talented player but he has a lot to improve while Gopal (Singh) is a different type of bowler. Gopal has pace but he is nippy and hit hard on the ground while bowling," said the coach.
However, the most surprising inclusions in the team are all-rounder Khanal and pacer Giri as they were not in the list of 24 players initially called by CAN for closed camp training. CAN had included them in the closed camp training following Dassanayake´s request.
"I´m unaware how they could not make to the list of 24 but I was impressed by their performances in the Indian Ambassador´s Cup and the Sixth National Games," said Dassanayake.
Dassanayake was impressed with Khanal during the talent hunt programs that he conducted in Bhairahawa.
"We should be open to include talented players in the team," said the coach.
After fresh inclusion of Ansari, Singh, Khanal and Giri, three players namely -- Nischal Pandey, Rupesh Shrivastav and Subendu Pandey-- are dropped from the U-19 national team.
The 14 members of the U-19 team, which played in the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers held in Ireland from July 28 to August 9 in 2011 and helped Nepal to qualify for the World Cup, were directly included in the closed camp training. Among the 14 players, Nischal Pandey and Rupesh Shrivastav are limited as reserve players while Subendu Pandey could not manage to be even in the reserves list.
The 11 players to retain their places in the U-19 national squad are Prithu Baskota, Pradeep Airee, Rajesh Pulami, Sagar Pun, Naresh Budhayair, Krishna Karki, Avinas Karn, Faizlur Rehman, Subhas Khakurel and Rahul BK.
Baskota retained the charge of captainship in the squad while Airee is appointed as new vice-captain replacing BK.
Pawan Shrestha and Prajesh Bahadur Singh are also considered as the reserve players.
"We are trying to prepare a unit for the upcoming U-19 World Cup by playing the U-19 Asia Cup," said Dassanayake.
Nepal is to take on India, Pakistan and Malaysia in the group stage of the U-19 Asia Cup.