Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is set to bolster its links with Nepalese cricket this year, starting with national team captain Paras Khadka’s selection in the first MCC squad of 2015. Khadka will be part of the squad for the Emirates T20 tournament which takes place in Dubai on 20th March and also features Lancashire, Yorkshire and Sussex.
The 27-year-old has captained his country since 2009, leading them through a number of ICC World Cricket League Divisions and eventually to last year’s ICC World Twenty20 competition in Bangladesh. In June 2014, Nepal were granted T20 International status by the ICC.
The Club also confirmed that Nepal Under 19 Internationals Raju Rijal and Dipendra Singh Airee have been handed places on the MCC Young Cricketers programme for the summer of 2015. Rijal, who also captains Nepal Under 19s, is a right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman, while Airee is a right-handed batting all-rounder.
The duo will follow in the footsteps of full Nepal internationals Rajesh Pulami Magar and Naresh Budhayer who were part of the MCC Young Cricketers programme in 2013. In November 2015, MCC will also send a touring team to Nepal. They will play a series of fixtures against both national and local sides as well as providing expert coaching for young cricketers who would not usually have access to it.
John Stephenson, MCC Head of Cricket, said: “MCC keeps a close eye on cricket developments in countries where the sport is growing in popularity, and Nepal certainly fits into that category. This played a big part in our decision both to select some of their players for MCC sides, and to send a touring team out there in November.
“Nepal is starting to produce some very talented cricketers. We are looking forward to welcoming two of their hottest prospects on to our excellent MCC Young Cricketers programme this summer, and I’m delighted to have Paras Khadka as part of our squad for the Emirates T20 competition in March. I am confident he will be an asset to our team and his inclusion in the squad should also serve as encouragement to the huge number of boys and girls in Nepal who are keen to get involved with cricket.”
Paras Khadka said: “It’s a great privilege to be selected to play for MCC. This is a fantastic platform to showcase Nepal cricket and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can make the best of this opportunity to promote cricket in Nepal.”