Nepali Cricket: The Untold Story
Nepali cricket has has gone through a lot of ups and downs. Getting promoted to Associate Member from Affiliate Member of ICC in 1996 is probably the starting of Nepali cricket’s professional journey. A lot has changed since then. From the maiden appearance of national team in ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur in 1996 to the T20 World Cup 2014 in Bangladesh, the country has seen it all. From being called a Darkhorse in junior level to showing a good performance in the ICC World Cup, encapsulates the cricketing passion of the country.
As a fan, we keep track of player performances and put our opinions on whether a player deserves a place in the squad or not. We won’t miss a single ball bowled in a match where Nepal is playing. We all witness media coverages, interviews, scorecards and appreciations for our cricketers and our cricketing passion, but amidst all these success tales, there are some background processes running that never get noticed. There exist some untold stories in Nepali cricket that runs behind the scene and as a fan, we tend to ignore these prospects.
It's now time we now look at a bigger picture of Nepali cricket. Let’s not limit our opinions to just performances, statistics and match coverage. We obviously need to keep track of these statistics but let’s look at the bigger picture now. I am not saying we are doing it wrong at present. But now, we need to think big and realize why Nepali cricket is not enhancing as we expect it to.
Suspension of CAN
A country with one of the best fan following amongst ICC Associate Members does not have an active governing body of cricket. Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has been suspended by International Cricket Council (ICC) due to unnecessary government interference. As long as CAN is suspended, the funds we have been receiving from ICC is cut off. Had our system been managed properly, CAN would never have been suspended. Even after ICC has suspended CAN, not much approaches or steps have been put forward to lift the suspension.
Single International Cricket Ground
A single international cricket ground at Tribhuwan University is not what Nepali cricket would want. First match played in TU Ground was way back in 1998 when Bangladesh played Papua New Guinea in the 1998 ACC Trophy. It has been years that Nepali fans started dreaming of witnessing an international match in Mulpani ground. Yes, the work is going on and recently a match was played there, but the expedition of the construction hasn’t lived upto the expectation of the fans.
One very good prospect for Nepali cricket in recent times is growing domestic cricket tournaments. Everest Premier League (EPL), Dhangadi Premier League (DPL), Ruslan Cup and a number of cricket tournaments have certainly raised some hopes in the whole cricketing fraternity. The sport is getting professionalized and players can dedicate their time to cricket with adequate amount of sponsorship to them.
One has to agree that these domestic tournaments doesn’t get enough fan following that other international games get. I agree, match between Chitwan Tigers and Kathmandu XI may not attract the same number of spectators in the ground as it does when Nepal plays Afghanistan. But, the number of spectators we see today in domestic matches is not satisfactory at all.
One more thing we have to notice is that almost all of these tournaments are played in T20 format. I guess, we need to have at least few tournaments in longer format of the game if we are to produce even more capable players. More capable players in this context doesn’t necessarily refer to new players with better skills and potentials but the existing players too can improve their skills and get matured with enough match practice.
Perhaps, there are a number of issues that are responsible for not allowing the growth of Nepali cricket. We won’t be able to solve the issues in one day or one month. It is a continuous process and we need to have patience along with dedication.
I don’t think lacking resources or infrastructure is the problem for us, the problem is our thinking, our approach and execution. Let me put it this way:we will overcome lack of resources one day or the other, but the issue I guess is the cricketing tradition and system over here.
Are we doing enough to bring suspended CAN back in action? Are the domestic tournaments enough to keep giving chances for new players and match practices for senior players? Don’t we need any 50 over tournament or even 2-3 day matches in domestic cricket? Are the players getting enough exposure to perform at the international level?
The opinions presented here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily relfect the opinions of LetzCricket.