KATHMANDU, Feb 21: Nepali national cricket team, which stole limelight last year after claiming ICC World Cricket League Division 4 and ACC Elite Cup titles, is going through rigorous training sessions now for the upcoming ACC T20 Cup and WCL Division 3.
Kathmandu will host the ACC T20 Cup from March 26 to April 3 while Nepal is to visit Bermuda for Division 3 scheduled for April 28 to May 5. As both the tournaments could open passage to respective World Cups for Nepal, coach Pubudu Dassanayake is busy preparing strategies for both the tournaments.
However, he is more focused on the ACC T20 Cup for the time being as there is only a month to prepare for it.
"It is the best chance to win the T20 tournament since all the boys are pumped up with recent success and are in good shape," said Dassanayake.
Dassanayake is all set to tour India from February 23 to March 10 with 18 players in the team. The team is to play practice matches with local clubs and academies there. "The tour will help us by exposing our weaknesses," said Dassanayake.
Nepali team is to play four 50-over matches and six T20 matches in India. The final squad (14-member squad) will be announced during the tour.
"In terms of skill, boys are good in playing basic cricketing shots. They can play ground shots with comfort. However, I want some power hitting from boys during the T20," said Dassanayake.
Dassanayake said that the main challenge for him is to maintain peak form of the players during the tournament. "We have to improve fitness level and we are working on it," he said.
Dassanayake wants to build momentum in the T20 tournament from the very first match against the Maldives. "We are capable of beating top associate nations and we want to beat the UAE and Afghanistan here. However, nothing is easy. What we need is momentum from the very first game," he said.
Nepal will take on Maldives on March 26, Hong Kong on March 27, Malaysia on March 30 and Singapore on March 31. Top two teams of the tournament will progress to World T20 Qualifiers to be held in the UAE in November. Afghanistan and the UAE are already in the qualifiers as an ODI nation and the host respectively.
Meanwhile, senior pace bowler Binod Das has left the training camp, as he is not considered in the team because of injury. "We didn´t actually consider him in the team because of injury. If he gets 100 percent fit before Division 3, we can consider him then," said Dassanayake.