Preview: PM Cup Nepal Men’s National Cricket Tournament

The Prime Minister’s Cup (PM Cup) Nepal Men’s National Cricket Tournament organised by the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) will see ten teams in action from 15 to 30 January in Kathmandu.

The tournament, to be played in a One Day format, will be the first of its kind since COVID-19 hit the nation. The participating ten teams – seven Provinces and three government department teams – have been divided into two pools of five teams each. Each team plays four matches in a single round-robin league to secure the top two spots in the group, and with it, a place in the cross over semi-finals. The winners of each semi-final facing each other in the final.

Paras Khadka, Karan KC, Sompal Kami, and Kushal Malla will not be available for the whole tournament, as they they will flying out for the Abu Dhabi T10 event in its midst. Sandeep Lamichhane is currently playing in Australia’s Big Bash League with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Sandeep Lamichhane will be with the Hobart Hurricanes for the duration of the PM Cup and therefore will not be available (Photo: supplied)

However, there are exciting new talents on display, all of whom have excelled in the district and provincial tournaments. They will accompany a number of very familiar faces. Nepal’s ace spinner and legendary cricketer, Basanta Regmi is set to return to the national tournament after recovering from COVID-19. He was earlier excluded from the national training camp and Gautam Buddha T20 Cup as part of COVID-19 quarantine and recovery measures. In the meantime, the department teams have signed emerging talents from the youth national team to participate in the PM Cup.

Recently appointed head coach Dav Whatmore who was expected to arrive in Nepal prior to the tournament’s commencement is still awaiting a visa, and is now likely to miss almost half the tournament. As stated by the CAN officials, his visa has been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. He is expected to arrive in the third week of January.

New Nepal Head Coach, Dave Whatmore, will arrive in the country in time to catch some of the action (Photo: supplied)

What to expect from the tournament? 

The PM Cup Men’s National Tournament will involve around one hundred and fifty cricketers among over half a thousand cricketers who competed in the district and provincial selection matches. As I have written elsewhere for Emerging Cricket, given the disparities in resources and therefore on-field quality between provincial and departmental teams, it’s very likely that the departmental teams will dominate the tournament once again. 

The defending champions Nepal Police Club who clinched the national title, beating Nepal Army Club in the final, will look to defend the prestigious trophy while other teams will fight to dethrone the champions. 

Most importantly, the spirit and the performance of the young and emerging cricketers who have shone in the young Nepalese teams and the domestic circuit, will be worth watching in the national competition. It will be expected that some will knock on the national team door for the upcoming Cricket World Cup League Two fixtures. In this context, the PM Cup Men’s National Cricket Tournament holds a lot of significance in the domestic circuit of Nepal Cricket. 

Official Squads

Province One: Siddhant Lohani (cap), Firdos Ansari, Minash Thapa, Deepak Paswan, Rajan Magar, Subhankar Urau, Dipesh Kandel, Shravan Yadav, Sonu Mandal, Joshak Khadka, Vivek Mehta, Manoj Tamang, Gyanendra Shrestha and Hemanta Rai

Province Two – Yet to announce

Bagmati Province – Yet to announce

Gandaki Province: Bipin Khatri (cap), Ashok Shrestha (VC), Deepesh Khatri, Chandrakant Poudel, Amrit Gurung, Rahul Upadhyaya, Deepak Dumre, Abhishek Thapa, Subash Bhandari, Sameer Kandel, Arjun Kumal, Bishal Poudel, Bishnu Pandey and Dinesh Budhamgar

Lumbini Province – Yet to announce

Karnali Province: Ravindra Jung Shahi (cap), Nischal Rawal, Diwan Babu Pun, Lalit Pyakurel, Hemanta Oli, Dinesh Adhikari, Himanshu Shahi, Bipin Rawal, Raj Kumar Shah, Anuj Chanara, Tara Prasad Giri, Rupak Dahal, Unish Bikram Singh and Abhishek Bam Thakuri

Sudur Paschim Province: Santosh Bhatta (cap), Khadak Bahadur Bohara (vc), Arun Airee, Gajendra Bohara, Sanju Damai, Suraj Tirwa, Kiran Thagunna, Arjun Sawad, Binod Lama, Sher Malla, Hemanta Dhami, Narayan Joshi, Narendra Sawad and Bhojraj Bhatta

Department Teams

Armed Police Force (APF)

Sharad Veshawkar (captain), Basanta Regmi, Subash Khakurel, Shankar Rana, Pradeep Airee, Sandeep Jora, Kamal Singh Airee, Sumit Maharjan, Rit Gautam, Kishor Mahato, Bhuwan Karki, Aasif Sheikh, Amar Singh Rautela, Surya Tamang and Abinash Bohara

Nepal Police Club – Yet to Announce

Nepal Army Club :Binod Bhandari (cap), Anil Mandal, Raju Rijal, Rohit Kumar Poudel, Bhim Sarki, Rajesh Pulami, Hari Bahadur Chauhan, Vikram Sob, Aakash Chand, Sushan Bhari, Sahab Alam, Harikrishna Jha, Lokesh Bam and Jitendra Mukhiya.

Where to Watch the PM Cup

The PM Cup Men’s National Cricket Tournament which will be played at two venues, namely the TU International Cricket Ground and Mulpani Cricket Ground. It will be live telecasted on National Television Action Sports HD and will be streamed live via its official youtube channel. Each match is scheduled to start from 11:00 AM [NST] onwards.

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