Wednesday 22 November 2006 

Nepal’s Youngsters Help Lead The Way In ACC Premier League

Next round of matches will have crucial bearing on outcome of tournament

Nepal, including five members of the squad that won the Plate Championship at the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in Sri Lanka earlier this year, is leading the way in this year’s Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Premier League.

Nepal heads the five-team event, which sees matches between the leading Associate sides in the region played over three days, after wins against Singapore and Hong Kong. Its one defeat so far has come at the hands of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Nepal leads the round-robin table from Singapore, ahead of Malaysia and Hong Kong while the UAE trail all of the other sides as it has played just one match so far.

The Nepal line-up includes Paras Khadka, Sharad Vesawker, Gyanendra Malla, Basanta Regmi and Amrit Bhattarai, all of them part of the junior line-up that beat ICC Full Members South Africa and New Zealand to lift the Plate Championship in February.

Nepal’s lofty position is based around outstanding performances by two players – Binod Das is the tournament’s leading wicket-taker this term with 16 wickets while Khadka has scored 251 runs at 41.83.

Only one player, Singapore’s Chaminda Ruwan, has more runs in the tournament than Khadka, totalling 352 runs at 70.40. Ruwan’s team mate Pramod Raja has also had a successful tournament, with 14 wickets at 15.65 each.

The tournament, previously known as the Fast Track Countries Tournament, has now been running since 2004 and ACC Development Manager Sultan Rana said it was a vital part of the process of improving players in the region.

“The ACC Premier League is important because it broadens and deepens cricket awareness in these countries,” said Sultan.

“Because the game is of a longer duration than the usual one-day format the players are used to, it teaches batsmen to build an innings and bowlers to try and take wickets rather than just contain.

“It also shows players how fit they need to be to sustain a level of performance over three days rather than just one.

“The disciplines the players learn in the ACC Premier League and the ICC Intercontinental Cup will improve standards in the sport below ICC Full Member level and that has to be a good thing for the game.

“And not only the players but also the curators and umpires benefit immensely from this transition of one-day game to longer duration fixtures,” he added.

Unlike the ICC Intercontinental Cup, these matches are not first-class. The bottom two teams from this event will be relegated for the next ACC Premier League competition and will be replaced by teams on the basis of performances in various other ACC competitions.

Every 25 runs scored in the ACC Premier League produces 0.5 points with the same reward for each wicket taken. In the second innings a team can score a maximum of four batting points.

The next round of fixtures is set to have a crucial bearing on the fate of this year’s competition with Nepal travelling to Malaysia while the UAE, with only one match played so far, host Hong Kong at Sharjah, with both matches set to be played from 24 – 26 November.

Full details of the ACC Premier League 2006, including the current standings, can be found at: http://www.asiancricket.org/cnt_accpremleague06.cfm

Details of Nepal’s performance in ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup can be found at: http://www.icc-cricket.com/icc-u19wc/content/story/237705.html

ICC