Once Nepal get good exposure, they will come good: Sulakshan Kulkarni
Former wicketkeeper Sulakshan Kulkarni has completed his first mission since being appointed as the batting coach of Nepal last month. Nepal has qualified for the Division One of the ICC World Cup qualifiers, which will be held in Zimbabwe from March 4-24, 2018 after progressing from Division 2 of the ICC World Cup qualifiers, which were held in Namibia from February 5 to 18. Amongst the teams competing with Nepal for a berth in the ICC World Cup in 2019 in Zimbabwe will be two-time world champions the West Indies.
“They are a talented and a hardworking bunch. Some of their players who took part in the ICC Under-19 in New Zealand last month, are coming up nicely. Their fielding is outstanding. It helps them that they play a lot of T20 cricket back home,” Kulkarni told TOI on Thursday.
He felt that Nepal’s batsmen needed more exposure to get better. “They are talented but need some experience at this level. Once they get a good exposure, I’m sure they will come good,” he recommended.
Kulkarni heaped praise on Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who, along with Oman’s Bilal Khan, was the top wicket-taker in the tournament, finishing with 17 scalps in six games at 10.35, at an outstanding economy rate of 3.23. In January this year, Lamichhane had become the first cricketer from Nepal to be bought in the IPL auction, when the Delhi Daredevils purchased him.
“He was a revelation. He’s an aggressive legspinner with a sharp googly in his armoury. The best thing that has happened to Nepal cricket is that he’s playing in the IPL this year,” Kulkarni complimented the 17-year-old.
Kulkarni informed that cricket had become to attract a fair bit of following in the Himalayan kingdom. “It’s very popular over there. The fan following is tremendous. For a regular game, I saw around 5,000-10,000 spectators at the ground.”
The ex-Mumbai stumper and coach said that he’s tried to imbibe Mumbai’s tough cricket culture into the Nepal dressing room. “They have their own skill. I tell them how to utilize it to maximum. I’m trying to imbibe Mumbai’s winning culture in them,” he said.