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Sompal Soars: The first Nepali to play back-to-back World Cups

Laxmi GC

Laxmi GC

 |  Kathmandu

Sompal Kami (Photo: Saroj Nepal)

On June 4, 2024, Tuesday night.

When it will tick 9:15 pm (Nepali time), Grand Priories Stadium in Texas will resonate with the recitation of the national anthem of Nepal, Sayaun Phulka Thunga Hami …!

The T20 World Cup journey of Nepal hosted by International Cricket Council (ICC) will kick off with a match against Netherlands. Cricket Nepali enthusiasts will be watching live the event on the television.

Nepal had made a debut in the T20 World Cup held in Bangladesh in 2014. This is the second time Nepal is participating in the T20 World Cup.

Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Sharad Vesawkar were in the then Nepali team but none of them are participating in the World Cup this time except for Sompal Kami.

Of the two cricketers – Binod Bhandari and right-arm fast-medium bowler Sompal Kami – who vied for a spot in the World Cup Qualifier, Sompal made to the World Cup.

Nepal paved the way for the T20 World Cup 2024 by defeating UAE by eight wickets in the semifinal of the ICC T20 World Cup Asia Region.

“All the senior players joined the celebration when Nepal qualified for this World Cup. It was a ‘golden moment’,” Sompal recalls, “We were on cloud nine when we were selected for the World Cup 2024.”  

Even though the Nepali team lost the final match of the Qualifier, Nepal had already qualified for the World Cup.

Sompal after taking 2 wickets against Afghanistan in 2014 World Cup in Chittagong. (Photo: ICC)

We will inspire the new generation
Sompal, who is only a lucky player to get selected for the second time, is having an opportunity to feel two different experiences. He was a junior player when he participated in the World Cup 2014. This time, he is participating as a senior player of the team. 

Sompal has been very happy to get selected for the second time. “It feels like a dream come true,” says he.  He remembered how many of his friends had cried with joy when they were selected for the World Cup. It had rekindled a forgotten dream, “We can also play in the World Cup.”

Some players who were motivated by watching the 2014 World Cup are in the current team, said Sompal before flying to West Indies.

He is hopeful that upcoming World Cup will inspire the new generation to take up the cricket and dream of reaching the World Cup stage.

Team is strong and well-prepared
The Nepali cricket team had played practice matches with Ireland and West Indies in its home ground as part of preparation for the World Cup.

Nepal played a competitive match with West Indies and clinched two wins against Ireland. Similarly, in the five-match T20 series, Nepal won two and lost three matches to West Indies A.

Nepal is well prepared and will outdo its previous performance in the upcoming World Cup.

"A strong bench is crucial," he emphasized, "It took us 10 years to qualify for the World Cup. I hope, with the backup plan, we will qualify much earlier in the future."

World Cup 10 years ago
Sompal was a junior player when he participated in the T20 World Cup held in Bangladesh in 2014.

A debutant in the national cricket team, he could not speak Nepali well then. He had played only a few matches prior to the World Cup.

Abinash, Karan, and Amit Bhattarai vied for a spot in the Qualifiers alongside Sompal, but ultimately, Sompal emerged victorious, not only making the World Cup squad but also securing a place in the starting XI.

Sompal reminisces about the thrilling moment of the 2014 World Cup. "The crowd roared my name – Sompal! Sompal! Gulmi Express!" he recalls, a surge of renewed motivation evident in his voice. 

This time, he's determined to outdo his previous performance.

Nepali cricket team of 2014  (photo: CAN)


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