File photo of Virender Sehwag during a practice session. (AP Photo)
Kathmandu: The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has been left red-faced after it used star Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag's picture in a Nepal national team jersey in the annual souvenir published by it.
The 2013 annual souvenir published by CAN has a Sehwag action picture on its cover, wearing a deep blue jersey of the Nepal cricket team. CAN had tried to blur the face of the Indian batsman but there is no denying that it's a Sehwag picture which it has used.
CAN's Executive Committee member and former national cricketer Kiran Rana admitted that it was indeed Sehwag's picture that has been used in the cover of the souvenir. "Yes, it is Virender Sehwag's picture that we have used in the cover of the CAN's annual souvenir, but if you have a closer look, we have blurred the face a bit. I can tell you that this is completely an unintentional mistake on our part."
"We don't even sell the souvenir. It is only released for our members and a copy of each was given to them during the Annual General Meeting of the body in Pokhra recently," he said.
However, Rana could not give a convincing answer as to whose idea it was to use the veteran Indian opener's picture in a Nepal team jersey. "Well, Sehwag has a huge fan following in Nepal. There is every possibility that the owner of the printing press is a Sehwag fan and he must have felt the urge to use this picture in the magazine cover," Rana said.
Asked if CAN would change the cover photo and re-print it, Rana said, "Already 150 copies of the magazine has been distributed, so there is no chance of having a re-print."
Popular local daily Himalayan Times quoted former Nepal players as expressing unhappiness that none of the local cricketers' picture has been used in the cover of souvenir.
Rana claimed that CAN shares a good relationship with the Indian cricket board and it has recently signed an MoU with Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which will help them prepare for the final qualifying tournament for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next year and the ICC 50-over World Cup qualifier that will be held in New Zealand.
"Even Mahendra Singh Dhoni was used as a brand amabassador for Nepal cricket a year back when he came with his wife [Sakshi] to offer puja at the Pashupatinath Temple. CAN got in touch with the Indian Embassy in Nepal and we had a photograph clicked with Dhoni promoting Nepal cricket. He was generous enough not to charge a single penny."