By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA
I realize I have lagged behind in writing about our young cricketers, gearing up for the all important ICC World Cup Under-19 cricket championship, starting on 11 August in Queensland, Australia.
It is one of those days when you’re unable to fight off mental fatigue, or you’re preoccupied with something important that bears down on you out of the blue or you decide to take a sabbatical.
Don’t get me wrong. Candidly speaking, my extraordinary enthusiasm, zeal and passion remain intact. No way can I refrain from something, I am so attached to, and I am so passionate about? I am apologetic, nevertheless.
So much is happening in the world of sports, nationally and internationally. Of course, there is the mother of all sporting events, the 2012 Olympic Games in progress in London.
On the domestic front, it is all about football at the moment. The big news, however, was/is the corruption allegations surrounding President of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Ganesh Thapa.
As I write Team Nepal arrived in Australia last week sans three players who were refused visa by the Australian Embassy, New Delhi, India. Now that the issue has been resolved, the three players will join the team in a matter of days.
The visa hassle could have been averted, if Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) had been more knowledgeable about the process pertaining to minors.
CAN continue to be a huge disappointment and keep failing in their responsibilities. And what a laughing stock they have made of themselves.
Young aspirants are unsure of themselves because of the uncertainty, but they do not want to quit the game they so passionately love. I salute them for their dogged determination and sacrifice to make something out of nothing for the country and themselves.
The two- week long tournament features the very best cricketing nations from across the world. The competition is a perfect platform for budding cricketers, and more importantly it provides them a rare chance to rise to the top and leave a lasting impression.
Indeed, the stake is high for every cricketer considering the magnitude of the tournament. It is a matter of pride for us that Team Nepal is part of the elite competition.
It does not matter, at least to me, no matter where they finish at the end of the day. The team’s qualification to the competition is an accomplishment unto itself. Of course, I love to see our cricketers reach the pinnacle of success.
The talent we have is amazing, and the youngsters have proven time and time again just what they are capable of. It may be recalled that the team enjoyed unprecedented success in the ICC World Cup Under- 19 held in New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
On both occasions our cricketers came up with sterling performance that captivated the imagination of cricket aficionados across the globe and deservingly earned those accolades and appreciation.
So, the million dollar question is: can they do it? Although the odds are heavily stacked against them, Team Nepal has pretty much performed well in this competition.
Our hope is that the young colts strive to exceed everyone’s expectations and chalk up another heart-warming performance.
Evidently the Australian challenge is daunting for the boys; however, I have confidence in them. I absolutely think this team has enough potential to get the job done.
Having vented my optimism, ultimately everything comes down to collective effort in order to make it happen. By and large, team successes hinges on individual player performances, coupled with their ability to compete consistently, withstand the pressure of the game, and dig up and put forth every bit of their effort.
In addition, players need to imbibe self confidence, commitment and positive thinking. The team got wake-up call in their lackluster showing at ACC U-19 Asia Cup 2012 in Malaysia.
Against the world’s two finest teams, Pakistan and India, our cricketers not only struggled, but failed to put up a semblance of a fight as they were roundly outplayed in every department of the game.
To make the Australian trip a truly memorable experience, Team Nepal cannot afford a repeat of that performance. They have to give their very best performance to make a run in the championship.
It is important to remember that they are up against formidable opponents in the likes of Australia, England and Ireland.
Sri Lankan Pubudu Dasanayeke, the national coach must have motivated and inspired players with his dime-a-dozen rounds of pep talks regarding every aspect of the game. That is all he can do. He is not a miracle coach, one with a magic wand.
I am keeping my fingers crossed: I hope for the best result.