There has been mixed fortunes for MCC in their opening two fixtures of the ‘Legacy Tour’ of Nepal, with the side recording a win and a loss so far.
With the players and staff having departed London on Friday, the thirteen-man squad arrived in Kathmandu on Saturday, and prepared to face Nepal Under-19’s at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground in Kathmandu on Sunday.
After being asked to bat first, MCC made 334 for 7 from their 50 overs, with three players making half-centuries. Will Rhodes and Billy Godleman put on 110 for the first wicket, with Warwickshire’s Rhodes going on to fall seven runs short of a century.
Tom Westley’s 65 and Miles Hammond, also making 65 from only 36 deliveries, boosted the total – so too Ed Young who scored a brisk 45 from 32 balls.
Nepal’s youngsters – with a number of 16, 17 and 18 year-olds in their side, made a good attempt at chasing down the stiff total, finishing only 38 runs short. Hari Chauhan top-scored with 52, whilst Leicestershire seamer Chris Wright was the pick of the bowlers for MCC, taking 3 for 51.
Former Hampshire batsman Jimmy Adams is the MCC captain for the tour. Adams enjoyed a sixteen-year career with Hampshire and is currently second eleven coach at the Ageas Bowl.
Yasir Arafat, who represented Pakistan in all three formats of the game, is included in the squad. The seamer also enjoyed stints at no less than five counties and is still one of the world’s leading T20 wicket-takers.
Tom Westley, who recently helped Essex to their second Specsavers County Championship title in three seasons, will bring further international experience to MCC having played five Test Matches for England in 2017, whilst Derbyshire skipper Billy Godleman, who enjoyed an impressive 2019 season making over 1,000 Championship runs, is also included.
Tour Manager Richard Greatorex said: “It was a great start to the tour with a sound performance against the Under-19s.
“There were some fantastic performances with the bat - Rhodes, Westley, Hammond, and Young with a last flourish.
“In the field I think it would be fair to stay we were feeling the effects of travelling, with a number of catches going down. Overall, the lads are gelling well and the performance was extremely pleasing.”
At the same ground on Monday, MCC were defeated by the Nepal national side. Batting first again, it was Derbyshire skipper Godleman who got MCC off to a strong start, as he and Rhodes put on 73 for the first wicket.
Both openers made half-centuries but the tourists struggled to put partnerships together and the spin of 18 year-old Pawan Sarraf and 20 year-old Lalit Rajbanshi proved problematic as the pair took eight MCC wickets between them. Will Vanderspar made 36 on his List A debut but no other batsman scored more than eleven, as MCC were bowled out for 201 in the 40th over.
Defending a relatively small total, MCC were well in the game having reduced Nepal to 81 for 4, however an unbeaten partnership of 70 between Binod Bhandari (52 not out) and Sarraf (38 not out) guided the hosts to a five-wicket victory.
The experienced Yasir Arafat took three wickets for MCC whilst Warwickshire’s Alex Thomson claimed the other two.
MCC will now turn their attentions to red-ball cricket, as they begin a three-day first-class match against Nepal at the same venue on Wednesday. It will be the Nepal national side’s first first-class fixture since 2005, when they played the UAE.
You can find out more about MCC’s ‘Legacy Tours’, as well as the trip to Nepal, here.
Matches to be played at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground, Kathmandu:
Sunday 3rd November: MCC 334 for 7 (50 overs) beat Nepal Under-19s 269 for 9 (50 overs) by 38 runs
Monday 4th November: MCC 201 all out (39.5 overs) lost to Nepal 205 for 5 (37.3 overs) by five wickets
Wednesday 6th – Friday 8th November: v Nepal (first-class three-day match)
Saturday 9th November: v Mixed National Side/Under-19s (T20)
Matches to be played at the Pokhara Rangasala Cricket Ground, Pokhara:
Monday 11th November: v Pokhara Invitational XI (T20)
Tuesday 12th November: v Chief Minister’s XI (T20)
About the Nepal Legacy Tour programme
In the first year of this three-year programme, the Foundation will be funding a £56k project in Pokhara, between November 2019 and June 2020. It will be delivered by Kidasha, a UK charity which undertakes work purely in Nepal, and runs life skills lessons around building confidence and resilience in Pokhara schools.
The Project encompasses:
- The laying of nets in five schools (Cricket Resource Schools)
- MCC and MCC Foundation coaches travelling to Nepal to December to upskill five local coaches and 15 local teachers (five in the cricket resource schools and ten in feeder schools) to deliver cricket
- The provision of kit for pupils in the fifteen schools
- Cricket coaching based at the five CRSs, six days a week
- The establishment of a new schools league, with both boys’ and girls’ teams
Both MCC and the Foundation aim to uncover and nurture cricketing talent at both elite and grassroots levels. The Foundation is also aiming to bring about broader socio-economic benefits by introducing cricket in schools e.g. around improving perceptions of gender, increasing confidence, and encouraging schools attendance.