By Charles Randall
6 November 2015
Hampstead CC, having celebrated their 150th year in momentous fashion with the Middlesex County League title, have had two players selected for the MCC tour of Nepal.
Steve Clark and George Adair fly out with the tour party this month for an itinerary that includes coaching visits to areas damaged by the severe earthquake in April, which killed 9,000 people and injured many thousands more. There was an after-shock in May, causing further death and damage, and the MCC tour was held under review, but the trip was confirmed by the MCC head of cricket John Stephenson after a short fact-finding visit in October.
Nepal, a country moving fast up the international ladder, are to host five fixtures in Kathmandu and a 50-overs match west in Pokhara. The MCC party will be led by the former Middlesex all-rounder Neil Dexter, now of Leicestershire.
Stephenson reckoned the visit was one of the MCC's most important recent tours. “Cricket’s popularity in Nepal has been growing significantly in recent years,” he said, “and after the trauma the country has been through this year, the sport has become a relief to many local people.”
There have been significant development links between MCC and Nepal over the years, and Paras Khadka, the Nepal captain, played for the MCC in the Emirates T20 in Dubai earlier this year. Two Nepalese players - Rajesh Magar and Naresh Budhayer - spent time with the MCC's Young Cricketers programme in 2013, and there are plans to extend this to be a more regular exchange of young players to aid Nepal's development.
Nepal finished fourth in the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division Two in Namibia in 2015 and they qualified for the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship, but they failed to qualify for the 2015–17 ICC Intercontinental Cup, the longer format. Basanta Regmi became the first bowler to take 100 wickets in the World Cricket League.
In 2016 Nepal are scheduled to play at Lord's in July for the first time, with the exact date for their game against MCC has still to be confirmed.
This will be the third time MCC have toured Nepal. The first visit was in March 2003, when the itinerary included four one-day matches in Kathmandu. MCC won three, including a last-ball victory over Nepal Under-19. The second tour took place in March 2009 and was captained by former England international Min Patel.
MCC party for tour of Nepal
Neil Dexter (Leicestershire, capt), George Adair (Hampstead CC), Steve Clark (Hampstead CC), Storm Green (British Army), Scott McKechnie (Hartley Country Club CC), Michael Coles (Corsham CC), Alex MacQueen (Valley End CC), Alex Senneck (Westbury & District CC, British Army), Liam Redrup (Taunton Deane CC), Ben Shepperson (Mildenhall CC), Richard Wilkinson (Alderley Edge CC), Chris Lawlor (St Fagans CC), Greg Holmes (Cardiff CC).
Manager: Colin Maber.
Umpire: Martyn Saggers (Kent)
14 November: Combined Nepal XI (50 overs; Kathmandu National Stadium)
16 November: Pokhara CC (50 overs)
18 November: Combined Nepal XI (50 overs; Kathmandu National Stadium)
20 November: Nepal B (50 overs; Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur)
21–22 November: Nepal (Kathmandu National Stadium)
23 November: Nepal (T20; Kathmandu National Stadium)