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3 Oct 2010

APF playing eleven: A departmental team with Nepal's biggest guns

It has come to me as a surprise how Armed Police Force (APF) signs all the high-profiled players of Nepalese cricket. You name them and they are in the team; captain Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Paresh Lohani, Shakti Gauchan, Sharad Vesawkar, Basanta Regmi, Dipendra Chaudhary, Amrit Bhattarai, Sanjam Regmi, Raju Basnet, Rom Shrestha, Sanjay Kumar Shrestha, Subhash Khakurel, Sunam Gautam, Prithu Baskota, Ritesh Singh and Mehboob Alam.
These are the big names, who will not be seen again playing from their respective regional teams. If we look at the name list with care, we will find that almost 70% of the whole APF team are made up of Kathmandu players.
So, the question is that, if these players are representing APF, then what will be the strength of Kathmandu regional team? However, I am in favour of this change and heartily welcome the decision of CAN to expand the regional teams and integrate departmental teams in the domestic competition. This will give a fresh look to the boring domestic cricket and keep the spectators' enthusiasm high. No doubt, this is one step closer to the birth of commercial cricket in Nepal. APF involvement will attract more public and private organizations towards cricket. I won't be surprised if football clubs like Three Star, MMC and NRT decide to franchise their own cricket teams. If it happens, we could expect one of our own IPL tournaments in the future. 

Before I was questioning about the strength of Kathmandu team. I think Kathmandu has good bench strength, which is yet to get enough exposure. Rikesh Lama, Pramod Basnet, Ayush Sharma, Suman Uday, Rupesh Shrivastav, Indra Kamal Manandhar, Bijay Gautam, Prashanna Shakya and Prabin Joshi are few likes, who have been performing well in domestic cricket but haven't got enough chance because of the presence of big guns in the team. May be this will provide them the valuable opportunity to qualify and play for their country. There will be enough spaces created with the introduction of two new regional teams: Janakpur and Pokhara. Eight regional teams plus departmental teams ( Not sure how many departmental teams are playing, APF and Nepal Police Club [NPC] name have come so far) will make the domestic cricket more competitive. Overall, it is positive sign for the development of Nepali Cricket. 

Before wrapping up this post, I wish to predict the playing 11 for the APF team. However, it should be kept in mind that the chief of the club is willing to include few of their police guys in the team as well. So, the composition of the team might change in some way. However, I predict the playing 11 from the available names:

1) Paresh Lohani (Opener)/ Sanjay Shrestha (Opener)
2) Subhash Khakurel (Opener/ Wicketkeeper)
3) Parash Khadka (Captain/ All rounder)
4) Gyanendra Malla
5)  Sharad Vesawkar/ Dipendra Chaudhary
6) Shakti Gauchan (All Rounder)/ Sunam Gautam (All Rounder)
7) Mehboob Alam (All Rounder) // In fact, opening with him in place of Paresh is good option
8) Basanta Regmi (All Rounder)
9) Ritesh Singh
10) Amrit Bhattarai
11) Sanjam Regmi

Depending upon the number of all rounders in the team, the team can opt to replace Ritesh Singh for Prithu Baskota, which will strengthen the batting. I heard Rom Shrestha is good all Rounder as well, so he can replace any of the all rounders in 6, 7 and 8 position, based upon the management decision whether to play more spinners or more pacers. Anyway, APF team looks less like a departmental team and more like a national team, and it will be interesting to see how successful this team will be in the upcoming domestic season. 

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