The Cricket Association of Nepal has been left red-faced after using star Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag's picture in a Nepal national team jersey in its annual souvenir.
The annual souvenir 2013, published by CAN, has a Sehwag action picture, wearing a deep blue jersey of the Nepal cricket team, on its cover.
The association tried to blur the face of the Indian opener, but there is no denying that it is a picture of Sehwag.
CAN's Executive Committee member and former national cricketer Kiran Rana admitted that it was indeed Sehwag's picture that has been used on 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," Rana told PTI.
"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 the souvenir, Rana said, "Already 150 copies of the magazine have 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 no local cricketer’s picture was used on the cover of souvenir.
Rana claimed that CAN shares a good relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and it recently signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which will help them prepare for the final qualifying tournament for the World T20 in Bangaldesh 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 ambassador 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 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," he said.
Image: Virender Sehwag