Nepal have announced an 18-member squad for a preparatory camp ahead of the the ACC women's tournament in Malaysia starting July 11. Nepal had organised their first-ever national championship in June in a bid to pick a team for the tournament. Four teams - Baitadi, Nepalganj, Bhairahawa and Kathmandu - competed in the championship.
Eight players from Nepalganj, the strongest side in the domestic circuit, four from Bhairahawa and three each from Baitadi and Kathmandu made it to the camp. What is unique about these sides is that many of their players are national-level athletes in other sports.
Nary Thapa, the Nepalganj captain, is also the national badminton captain. Keshari Chaudhary, who has broken national records in high jump and triple jump, is also part of the Nepalganj side while Madhu Thapa, a Bhairahawa player, has played football for Nepal at the U-19 Asian Championship Qualifying Round.
Last year Nepal, along with Singapore, won the ICC Global Development Award and Nepalganj received recognition for its initiative for women's cricket. According to the ACC website, currently 1000 schoolgirls are registered to play cricket in the region.
Arun Aryal, the Nepal chief coach, is optimistic about his team's chances at the ACC tournament. "All the nations have just started women's cricket, so I think all are at the same level," Aryal told The Kathmandu Post. "It won't be surprising if we win the event."
Hong Kong, China, UAE, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Singapore and Thailand are also part of the tournament. Nepal's first game - 30-over per side - is against Thailand on July 12.
Preparatory squad Nary Thapa Magar, Manisha Rawal, Mamata Thapa, Samjhana Sharma, Binu Buda Magar, Keshari Chaudhary, Trishna Singh, Sita Rana, Nira Rajopadhyay, Radhika Thapa, Samikchhya Aryal, Madhu Thapa, Saraswoti Lamgade, Susmita Chaudhary, Nitu Thapa, Janaki Bhatta, Maya Rawal, Ritu Kanaujiya