With the stage set in Kathmandu for the pre-qualifying match of the ICC World Twenty20 in the first week of December, Nepal´s place in the Cricket World Cup is in prospect.
Nepal is all set to host the ACC Twenty20 Cup from December 1 to 10. The event is one of the qualifiers for the World T20 2012 to be held in Sri Lanka.
Top three teams, except Afghanistan, from ACC T20 Cup will qualify for 16-team World T20 qualifiers to be held in early 2012 in UAE.
Afghanistan, along with five top Associate with ODI status, namely Canada, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands and Scotland are automatically qualified to the qualifier that will also feature two other teams from Europe, Africa and America as well as the top team from East Asia-Pacific region.
The top six teams of the World T20 Qualifier will qualify for the ICC World T20 in 2012.
“We are hosting the ACC tournament and we have home advantage,” Binaya Raj Pandey, president, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), said. “Even if we reach semifinal, we will qualify for the 16-team qualifier.”
Nepal had never crossed the group stage in previous two ACC T20 Cups. Nepal´s performance in the shortest version of cricket had been dismal with only five wins in nine matches.
Former national captain Pawan Agrawal believes Nepal have a chance to move a step forward. “We should start preparation for the ACC T20 now,” Agrawal, also a CAN member, said. “As Afghanistan is qualified automatically, reaching semifinal could take Nepali cricket a step forward.”
Afghanistan had reached the finals in two previous editions – by winning in 2009 and jointly winning in 2007.
Captain Paras Khadka said on an upbeat note that with a proper planning, Nepal could qualify in the qualifiers despite dismal past records. However, he said that it was important to start preparing for the event immediately.
“In Twenty20, there is less chance to make a comeback once a team loses initiatives. We do not have healthy past record,” Khadka further said, adding, “So, we need more training and match-exposure to secure semifinal spot in ACC T20.”
Khadka also stressed the urgency of appointing a national coach. “It´s right time to introduce a new coach as long-serving coach Roy Dias is not here anymore,” said Khadka.
CAN is yet to appoint a new coach for the national team after the high-profile Sri Lankan left Nepal after serving for nine years.
President Pandey, meanwhile, informed that CAN would soon finalize the detail plan for the ACC T20 Cup. “What I can say now is that we´ll have national tournaments in April and we´ll call up players in May and go through training sessions beginning September,” he elaborated.
Pandey also informed that the CAN is corresponding with several interested people for the coaching job but was quick to add that many of them are busy due to the ongoing World Cup. “We will wait for the completion of the World Cup to make a decision.”
International Cricket Council (ICC) has cut down the number of participating nations in the ICC World Cup to 10 but increased it to 16 in the ICC World Twenty20.
“We will have home advantage this time for ACC T20. If CAN properly plans training and exposure, we will qualify for the World T20 Qualifiers,” Khadka said, sounding optimistic.
Source: Myrepublica(NAVIN KHATIWADA)