HOPEFULLY someone has had the foresight to notify Nepalese air traffic control. The small white spheres that will soon be repeatedly broaching their airspace are not the actions of a hostile foreign state but instead just an average day at work for two of the biggest bats in world cricket.

It’s unclear whether it was deliberate or not by the Pokhara Rhinos to go after both George Munsey and Chris Gayle for the latest edition of the Everest Premier League that gets underway soon. But, regardless, it has resulted in a Twenty20 opening pairing to truly get the juices flowing. Bowlers, fielders and even spectators aware; an abundance of sixes and fours are coming your way.

Munsey is no slouch with a bat himself, the left-hander having clattered 127 not out for Scotland against the Dutch in a T20 match in Dublin last September.

The 27 year-old, however, admits he will take secondary billing when he teams up with West Indian legend Gayle, the finest proponent of T20 batting the sport has ever known.

The National:

“That’s going to be a lot of fun,” said the Scot. “Hopefully it doesn’t become a competition to try to out-hit each other as he hits a very long ball. I think I might struggle with that match-up!

“When you think of batters over the years who like to give the ball a whack you think of Marcus Trescothick, Matthew Hayden and also Chris Gayle. These are players I’ve looked up to and tried to see if can bring their style into my own game.

“Chris has played the game professionally for more than 20 years now so he’s got a lot of experience and knowledge that I can tap into.

“We’ve been around each other in the past but never shared a dressing room so that’s going to nice to be on the same side for once!”

Munsey has never played cricket in Nepal before but has sought the counsel of Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer who played in the previous edition of the EPL at the tail end of 2018.

The intel is that this is a cricket-obsessed nation – something that Munsey is quickly learning by the number of social media notifications flashing up on his phone once his appearance was confirmed.

“It’s obviously a mad cricket-loving country so I’m really looking forward to playing there,” he added. “It’s always good to go out and play in front of big crowds and try to soak up the experience.

The National:

“I’ve never played in Nepal but we went to India for the World Cup in 2016 so I’d imagine the conditions will be quite similar, although it’s obviously going to be at a much higher altitude.

“Kyle and I talk every day so he’s told me what I can expect when I’m out there. I’ve got my phone on silent now as I was getting so many messages from people in Nepal once the news was announced. And it’s brilliant to see a country so behind the sport. Everyone has been so welcoming and encouraging so far.

“I know there’s maybe a bit of pressure on my shoulders as people have come to expect you to hit the ball all over the ground – if you miss a couple they might start to get a bit annoyed!

“But taking the game to the bowlers is something I really enjoy doing and for the most part it’s worked well, especially in T20.

“It’s just my attitude to sport in general – just be aggressive and try to have fun. I feel that I’m at my best for the team when I’m relaxed, enjoying it and trying to cause a little bit of havoc.”

While Gayle will head for the Indian Premier League (IPL) after Nepal, Munsey will board a plane heading in the other direction to join his Scotland team-mates in Miami for the next round of their World Cricket League commitments.

With home matches against Australia and New Zealand before the T20 World Cup at the end of the year, Munsey acknowledges this could be a significant period for the national team.

The National:

“We’ve got a lot of big games coming up over the remainder of the year that we have to be well prepared for,” he added. “It’s a lot of travelling and it can take it out of you a bit. But you’d still rather have this set-up than how it was before when there would often be long periods without a Scotland game.

“It’s the USA and UAE up next and we know from playing them both at the end of last year how tough that will be.”