This is not a rivalry of any charm, at least for now. This is at the moment most predictable thing to happen in Nepalese cricket and surely will be for a long. In fact , Nepal seems to have around 30 players of any class. Rest are just toying with the cricket bat and bowl. Its more concerning than just a disappointment.
Just after a little more than a week, Nepal Police and APF will be locking horns once again in the pursuit of over powering each other’s ego, that is reflective of their long time battle in other sports at National level. The stage is set now. Both teams are through to the final of T 20 National cricket league. It has now trickled down to the cricket and the spin-off effects will just be forthcoming in coming days. There was not much fanfare in the final of 50 over National league between two teams. With the final proposition becoming more predictable, the two departments would surely come out with all guns blazing to cheer their respective teams. This is good for cricket. There is another perspective to look into this. How long CAN will keep grouping the teams to make sure APF and Police Team get to final from each pool? Or how long it’s going to take for other regional teams to catch up with these two teams for quality and competitiveness? CAN definitely has no answer to this question. It has a long term bearing in the development of cricket in Nepal. The inclusion of Police teams in the National league(both APF and Police teams are given Regional team status) and addition of two new regions (Region no 7 Janakpur and Region no 8 Pokhara) have made national cricket tournament grow bigger in stature and context. However, the new regional teams along with old teams have been struggling to put up a good show. This is worrying state indeed. The mass exodus of star players to the police teams in quest for the relatively secured future ( it does not guarantee a good future though) is seen as a main reason for the stingless performance of the teams. It exposed the void in the quality and threw light on the issues of availability of quality performers outside the two departmental teams.
CAN did itself no favors by failing to segregate between departmental teams and regional teams. They must find a way to save the regional teams from further humiliation. Developing a club league must be a resounding solution and they can limit the participation of departmental teams in the club format. It is more logical as the regions enclave a larger range of players and selection structures. Cricket is more institutionalized in the regions unlike the clubs as players have to go through a set and more comprehensive selection procedures. Club players are not entitled to grueling selection and all the hardships regional players have to undergo to get selected. It is in reference to the current level of cricket in Nepal.
Coming back to the possible final fixture between the two police teams, it would merely be a match of little significance. Police team may seek a revenge of their loss in the final of 50 over national event. Those players who are yet to contract with the Police team will try to impress their bosses at Nepal Police. Or players will just fight it out for their personal milestones. Perhaps, no new faces will make it to the squad for the forthcoming ACC T 20 to be held in Kathmandu in December, 2011. Players shall just enjoy yet another fixture.
By: Swurya Thapaliya (Swurya Thapaliya is an officer at Nepal Tourism Board and a Nepali Cricket Promoter)