After nearly nine months of the global pandemic, cricketing activities are set to start in Nepal, with the ‘Gautam Buddha Cup 2020’ commencing from the 12th of December. Prior to the PM Cup, this tournament organized by the Bagmati Province Cricket Association, one of the provincial bodies of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), aims to assist the national cricketers with a proper practice match, before heading towards the national tournament.
As announced by the organizers, the Gautam Buddha Cup will see three teams that comprise of the players from the recently-held national closed camp, a few U19 team members, and three local players. Former Skipper Paras Khadka has tested positive for Covid-19 while Star-leggie Sandeep Lamichhane will not be available for the tournament as he leaves for Australia for the Big Bash League on the 15th of December, though the organisers have ensured that all health protocols and guidelines will be strictly followed during the tournament.
The tournament is co-organized by the Chitwan District Cricket Association with supporting hands from the Bharatpur Municipality and the Bagmati Province Sports’ Development Council. The organizers have fixed the venue at the Gautam Buddha International Cricket Stadium (GBICS)’s Namuna Ground, Chitwan, nearly 175 km South-West of the capital city of the country. The venue has been decided to promote the GBICS which is one of the major projects by Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation, a charity founded by two renowned Nepalese TV comedians, Sitaram Kattel and Kunjana Ghimire in 2015 when the deadly earthquake hit Nepal.
With increasing cricket fans and glory, Nepal still lacks a fully-fledged international cricket stadium and it is here where the foundation has taken the lead to initiate the construction, after having finished constructing the three major shelter villages for the earthquake hit victims. The cricket stadium is one of its kind perhaps around the world – entirely built through crowdfunding from the Nepalese cricket fans and well-wishers. The foundation still seeks help from Nepalese cricket well-wishers all around the world to donate to this cause and be a unified part of the process. The district of Chitwan is also renowned for the Chitwan National Park, the first national park of Nepal, and also one of the World Heritage Sites enlisted by UNESCO in 1984.
‘We had actually targeted a 50-over format for the tournament. But, looking at the weather conditions of Chitwan, the format has been changed to T20. The teams are named after the three major rivers flowing through the province; Bagmati, Narayani, and Rapti’, organisers said.
The three teams will play a round-robin league and the top two teams will play for the trophy on the 15th of December. The tournament will be telecasted live on the Action Sports HD.
Team Bagmati: Gyanendra Malla ©, Anil Sah, Sompal Kami, Rashid Khan, Lalit Rajbanshi, Sagar Dhakal, Rohit Paudel, Pawan Sharaf, Sunil Dhamala, Bikram Sob, Pradeep Airee, Bhim Sharki, Aakash Thapa, Sangharsha Poudel.
Team Narayani: Paras Khadka ©, Subash Khakurel, Karan KC, Kishor Mahato, Sushan Bhari, Shahab Alam, Aarif Sheikh, Sandeep Jora, Rit Gautam, Sidhhant Lohani, Ishan Pandey, Raju Rijal, Dipesh Shrestha, Vivek Yadav.
Team Rapti: Binod Bhandari ©, Kushal Bhurtel, Avinash Bohara, Kamal S Airee, Surya Tamang, Bhuwan Karki, Sharad Veshawkar, Lokesh Bam, Aasif Sheikh, Jitendra Mukhiya, Amit Shrestha, Sumit Maharjan, Hari Bahadur Chauhan, Swapnil Adhikari.
12th December: Team Bagmati vs Team Narayani
13th December: Team Bagmati vs Team Rapti
14th December: Team Narayani vs Team Rapti
15th December: Final
The event is managed by the Queens Event Management Pvt. Ltd., the same management company that organized the earlier editions of the franchise leagues Pokhara Premier League (PPL T20) and Women’s Champions League (WCL T20) last year.
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