Jagat Tamatta is the chief coach of Nepal’s national cricket team. The International Cricket Council, which suspended Nepal’s cricket association in April, recently decided that Tamatta is to continue as Nepal’s coach, and he along with captain Paras Khadka, is to select the national squad for the two-match ICC World Cricket League series against the Netherlands at Amstelveenin in August. Onlinekhabar caught up with Tamatta to talk about the team’s preparations for the series.
So how has the team’s preparations been so far?
Well, we started the closed camp with probable players just three days ago. But we were working with U-19 and national players 15 days ahead of the closed camp. I believe that the 15-day head start has given us more time to focus on fitness this time. Had we waited for the closed camp to start, we would have needed an additional 15 days to conduct fitness tests.
We are motivating the players to perform. But the rainy season has already started, and that means we get limited time on the field. We need to design training keeping the weather in mind. The indoor facilities we have here at the TU ground are not adequate. But we are definitely giving it our best.
We saw that team has a new trainer.
Yes, his name is Rajesh Chauhan. He arrived just two days ago. In the past he has trained the Zimbabwean national team. He’s doing well with our team as well.
Now let’s talk about the team. Any new faces in the list of probables?
This time we do not exactly have any new face, but yes we have included players who could not make it to the final 14 during the match against Namibia. We have new batsmen in Sunil Dhamala and Subash Khakurel. Similarly, we have Dipesh Shrestha, Lalit Singh Bhandari and Avinash Karn as bowlers.
Could you tell us about Bhandari?
Bhandari is a left arm medium pace bowler. He is a wicket-taking bowler who has the ability to swing the ball. He played the U-19 Asia Cup, and had been playing at the regional level. We decided to include him in the team in view of the conditions we are likely to face in Europe. A left arm bowler can also unsettle a left-right batting partnership.
“Bhandari is a left arm medium pace bowler. He is a wicket-taking bowler who has the ability to swing the ball.”
Before the team heads to the Netherlands, it will play Marylebonne Cricket Club at Lords in the second week of July. How will this match help in the team’s preparations?
We hope that the match will give us the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the European weather. Under the European conditions, the ball behaves a bit differently. For example, here a good length ball bounces up to knee-high but there, it bounces up to the waist of the batsman.
I think the game will also help our players adjust their game to fast, bouncy wickets. We are going to play 2-3 more matches while in England. Although we haven’t received confirmation yet, we are confident that we will get to play good teams. We will be landing in the Netherlands well ahead of the series, and we are hopeful that we will get to play some local sides while we are there.
“We are going to play 2-3 more matches while in England. We are confident that we will get to play good teams.”
During the match against Namibia, you experimented with the opening pair. Who are the probable opening batsmen for Nepal this time?
We must understand that the conditions is Europe are different. I would say that if we do not lose a wicket in the first 10 overs, even if we have 20-30 runs on the board, we will be in a comfortable position. We have four batsmen who could open for us. We have Subash, Anil, Naresh and Sunil. We also have Gyanendra, who opened for us in one of the matches against Namibia.
The Netherlands remain unbeaten in the league so far. What is your assessment of the team?
They play well. They have a good batting and bowling lineup. But we are training our players, especially the bowlers by analysing their game. We are watching videos from their previous games so that we can play the match on our strength, which is bowling.
If we can pull off a win or two in the Netherlands, then we can look forward to the series against Kenya, which is most likely to be played in Nepal. Then we can be in a good position in the league.
Talking about bowling, the young leggie Sandeep Lamichhane has recently returned from Hong Kong, where he played with some of the big names in international cricket. Has this brought any visible change in him?
This has definitely given him confidence. But he must keep going. He should understand that he needs to get better, and he needs to maintain his discipline.
“Well, we knew it all along that the ICC was going to take action against CAN. What has happened is not good for Nepali cricket.”
To conclude, could you tell us your take on the ICC’s recent move?
Well, we knew it all along that the ICC was going to take action against CAN. What has happened is not good for Nepali cricket. The two associations should reach a compromise. The administrators, who are all educated people, need too understand their duties and responsibilities.
We have tried our best to keep the players away from the controversy. We have told them to just focus on their game.