“Despite having good players, there is something lacking… The players don´t get to play enough matches. Expecting them to do well after playing only three 50-over matches is not justified… Two things I want to do are: hold two-day format national league and arrange for Nepali team to play in India…”
Those were the words of Binaya Raj Pandey recorded on September 30, 2006 — a day after he was appointed the president of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN). Spoken at a time when the mismanagement and lack of cricket development initiatives had frustrated players and fans alike, Pandey´s words were quite soothing to the ear.
His appointment brought hopes of resurrection as the businessman bore a perfect profile of someone who could be entrusted with cricket development. His diplomacy, domestic and international ties and decades long association with cricket made him a person to look at to bring some order in the derailed cricket management.
After four years, however, much of that zeal and fanfare had been lost. If Kantipur Television rebroadcast the interview, it would surely be embarrassing for Pandey as he has not been able to deliver much of what he had promised despite being in a capable position.
I was present at the interview — and I know there are a few other things that he had promised and delivered. He has delivered on the promotion of women cricket, finding sponsors and also on giving some shape to the Mulpani cricket ground. While those are substantial achievements, they did not help the overall growth of Nepal´s cricketing level.
We still have good players and we still know something is lacking. Many of us, including Pandey, know that the some things that are lacking include exposures, matches and tournaments. Nothing much has happened in those areas even in the last four years.
CAN did introduce the two-day league. But the very first edition was postponed due to security reasons, and then they just forgot about it. Pandey had told media that the number of days of the two-day league would be gradually increased in subsequent years. It still remains a forgotten promise.
He repeatedly talked, formally and informally, about tie ups with India and the regional boards of the Test playing nations, but it never happened. During those years, he did manage to sign agreements with Pakistan and Bangladesh on tours but not with India — the best and most affordable option for Nepal. It´s not easy to have tie-up with India because they have never been enthusiastic about Nepal´s cricket.
For last two years, Pakistan´s cricket suffered most due to terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team. They lost tours and even World Cup matches, and were desperate to tell the world that the country is prepared for safety of the visiting teams. (The reason why they gave so much priority and coverage to the recent Pakistan tour of Nepali women team). Nepal could have used the opportunity for better bargains like a long-term tie-up and regular bilateral tours.
With all due respect, for the time and commitment Pandey has given to cricket, I must admit that I am disappointed with his and CAN´s achievement during his tenure as president. Bluntly, and ruthlessly, saying, CAN has functioned merely as a national agent of Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and International Cricket Council (ICC), providing them teams, venues and spreadsheets whenever they ask for.
I humbly want to remind Pandey of his promises, and I know if he honestly works towards fulfilling them, he is more than capable to deliver them. And, I hope he will work to deliver on his promises as he surely knows the saying: positions are temporary but contributions are permanent!
Ujjwal Acharya is a sports writer for MyRepublica, English Daily Newspaper