Virender Sehwag may now be only an India 'A' player but he sure has a following in Nepal. The annual souvenir of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has a batsman on its cover with an uncanny resemblance to the Nawab of Najafgarh.
In a front-page article headlined 'Howzzat? CAN caught right at silly point', Tuesday's edition of the Himalayan Times newspaper highlighted this gaffe calling it a "total embarrassment for cricketers, fans and Nepali cricket".
Accompanying the article is a picture of the souvenir cover showing a Sehwag lookalike kitted in Nepal's deep blue uniform and wearing a helmet that has CAN's crest.
"To make matters worse, watermark images have been used on almost all the 40-page souvenir," said the article. Former Nepal cricketer Raju Basnyat has been quoted as saying that this was a "complete disgrace…. It seems as if there are no cricketers in Nepal..."
Accepting that it was a mistake, Kiran Rana, a former player and member of the CAN's executive, told HT that the souvenir was distributed during the recent annual general meeting in Pokhara, 141 kilometers from here.
"Maybe, the press entrusted with printing this had a Sehwag fan. The picture is blurred and we didn't notice it then," said Rana.
CAN has distributed to representatives of the 38 districts and nine regional centres that attended the AGM, he said. CAN has no plans of selling the souvenir of which 150 copies were printed, said Rana.
The souvenir, according to the newspaper, was distributed at a media conference on Monday where CAN announced how it plans to take Nepal through the World T20 and the 50-over World Cup qualifiers.