Kathmandu, Feb. 8: “The battle is for good cricket,” Nepali cricket team coach Monty Desai said at the pre-match press conference of the Bilateral Series on Wednesday while replying to a question regarding Desai and Pubudu Dassanayake facing against teams they previously coached.
The bilateral series between Nepal and Canada is starting from February 8 in Kathmandu. The three ODI matches will be played at the TU International Cricket Ground with both teams expecting a good number of spectators as usual. With the 1st ODI on Thursday, the 2nd and 3rd ODIs will be played on February 10 and 12 respectively.
Desai worked as the head coach of Canada national cricket team to help the team during the 2019 ICC CWC League 2 matches before joining the West Indies as a batting coach the same year. He has been coaching Nepali cricket team since February 2023.
On the other hand, Pubudu was Nepal’s head coach from October 2011 to October 2015. He led the Nepali team to play its maiden ICC T20 World Cup in 2014.
As the two coaches understand their former teams to a great extent, it will add an intriguing dynamic to the three-match series as both teams will try to outsmart the other.
Stating that he was extremely delighted to return to Nepal, Pubudu said, “From being ranked 12th in the world in ODI format in 2009, losing the ODI status and gaining it back, Canada cricket team is thankful for the Cricket Association of Nepal for inviting us to play.”
“Nepal will give an opportunity for our team to play in front of a massive crowd because the attendance in Nepal’s cricket matches in unparalleled among the associate members. We look forward to giving our best as it will be a good preparation for our ICC CWC League 2 matches in the UAE,” Pubudu added.
“It is our first time visiting Nepal. We have been seeing Nepal’s matches and how the team is supported by the fans. After regaining the ODI status, there is nothing better than having Nepal as the opponent,” said Saad Bin Zafar, Canada cricket team captain.
New players for Nepal
Following their performances in the PM Men’s Cup, Anil Sah (best batsman), Surya Tamang (best bowler and best player), Rijan Dhakal and Pawan Sarraf have been called for the bilateral series against Canada.
Rohit Paudel will be captaining the squad which further comprises Aasif Sheikh, Kushal Bhurtel, Dev Khanal, Kushal Malla, Bhim Sarki, Aarif Sheikh, Sompal Kami, Hemant Dhami, Lalit Rajbanshi and Aakash Chand.
“PM Cup was something I am proud of. It was well organised across three venues. It also allowed the national team to induct promising talents in the squad. The new faces are going well with the happy dressing room,” said Desai.
Informing that the squad has been able to train properly only for two days after the PM Cup ended on February 3, Captain Rohit Paudel said, “The national team members played in the 50-over format from different teams in the PM Cup. We were in regular contact. We have not trained together, but we are prepared.”
Paudel added, “Karan KC and Gulshan Jha have been given rest for the ICC CWC League 2 matches against Namibia and the Netherlands. We look forward for the new faces to play good cricket.”