Nepal is one of the six teams participating in the Asia Cup 2023. It is the first time the Nepalese nation has qualified for the Asian event in the ODI format. Nepal won the ACC Premier Cup earlier this year by defeating UAE in the final to earn a place in the main tournament.
Rohit Paudel will captain the Nepal team in Asia Cup 2023. They will face the toughest opponents of their cricketing history in the tournament as the organizers have placed them in the group featuring India and Pakistan in the first round.
Pakistan will battle Nepal in the tournament opener on August 30, whereas India will play their first-ever international match against Nepal on September 4. Not many players of India and Pakistan have played against the Nepalese players before.
Former Delhi Capitals leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane is the most well-known name present in the Nepal squad for Asia Cup 2023. Apart from him, here are five other talented players of the Nepal team who can trouble India and Pakistan.
#1 Kushal Malla will be the player to look out for in Asia Cup 2023
19-year-old all-rounder Kushal Malla is one of the fastest-rising stars in Nepalese cricket. He is a batting all-rounder who bats left-handed and bowls slow left-arm spin.
During the Abu Dhabi T10 League, he got to spend time with Chris Gayle as a part of Team Abu Dhabi. Malla has represented Nepal in 27 ODIs so far, scoring 626 runs and scalping 18 wickets. His batting strike rate is 103.30, with his highest score being 108. If he gets going, Malla can score big in Asia Cup.
#2 Lalit Rajbanshi
Lalit Rajbanshi is a left-arm spinner. The 24-year-old is known for building pressure on opponents by keeping a check on the run-flow. Rajbanshi has played 21 ODIs in his career, where he has bowled in 17 innings.
In those 17 innings, he has picked up 28 wickets at an economy rate of 3.56. His best bowling figures in ODI cricket are 5/20.
#3 Bhim Sharki
Bhim Sharki is a middle-order batter, who can also bowl right-arm off-spin. Sharki has the experience of playing in 17 ODIs for Nepal, where he has aggregated 452 runs in 15 innings.
Sharki has registered three half-centuries in his ODI career. His ODI strike rate is less than 70, but he knows how to build partnerships in the middle.
#4 Karan KC
Karan KC is a fast-bowling all-rounder. The 31-year-old has donned the Nepal jersey in 46 ODI matches, where he has picked up 73 wickets. His best bowling figures in the ODI format are 5/33, while his economy rate is 5.25.
Karan took four-wicket hauls in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers matches against Ireland and USA earlier this year in Zimbabwe. He can be a wicket-taking bowler for Nepal in Asia Cup 2023.
#5 Sompal Kami
Sompal Kami is another bowling all-rounder, who bowls right-arm fast-medium pace. Kami has played 47 ODIs for Nepal ahead of Asia Cup 2023 and has accounted for 63 wickets at an economy rate of less than five runs per over.
Kami has also scored 478 runs, with his highest score being 63*. The Nepalese all-rounder will be keen to bring his ‘A’ game to the table against the top opponents in Asia Cup 2023.