By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA:
Nepal’s 13th place finish in the recently concluded ICC under-19 cricket World Cup tournament in Australia was not the result we had hoped for. All in all, the team put in a dismal performance.
The fans had high expectations, and some even envisioned another spectacular and unforgettable moment to be cherished but it never happened. Personally, I was optimistic like the rest in believing that they would replicate their past performances.
At the end of the day, disappointingly, success eluded Team Nepal in a pretty big way. It was evident that our cricketers became victims of their own mediocrity and inconsistency.
Agreed that this was by far the worst ever World Cup performance by Nepal. But in my humble opinion, by no means, this was a disaster; nonetheless, I consider it to be a very poor result.
Let me be straight, there are no excuses for the lackluster showing. The team should have done a far better job by their standards. They had the chance to dazzle and excel, instead they let it go begging by. I say it was a lost opportunity.
Understandably, competing at the highest level against the best in the world is never easy. Any side that is well short of a good quality preparation does not stand a chance.
A respectable performance is largely defined by standing up to the challenge, combining individual brilliance and collective effort, performing to the potential, and, more important, rising to the occasion. Unfortunately, none of these qualities were imbibed by our side.
No doubt, Nepal was in a tough group alongside Australia, England and Ireland. They had to battle two of the finest in the game, England and Australia, however, the lack of competitiveness contributed to their downfall.
They stood a good chance of winning against Ireland but just fell short of the mark. In the fight for the low rung positions, Sri Lanka made short work of Nepal for the ninth place.
After four straight defeats, Team Nepal finally managed to stop the bleeding, following wins over Namibia and Papua New Guinea.
Despite the reversal, there were a few outstanding individual performances, and should be viewed positively. The notable performers were Rahul Viswakarma, Bhuwan Karki, Sagar Pun and Subash Khakurel.
There is so much talent in the team but head coach Pubudu Dassanayake has not been able to take advantage of. I don’t blame him. Anybody in his shoes is bound to experience his anguish and frustration. I don’t see how he can get it done.
So far he has done his best under challenging circumstances. There is nothing more he can do because of the pathetic state of the game. Despite soaring popularity, Nepali cricket has remained stagnant for long.
I am repeating myself here. Cricket development has been hindered by the absence of proper infrastructure, training facilities, sponsors , coupled with inadequate funding and failed leadership.
And then of course, there is the politicized Cricket Association Nepal (CAN) that has failed miserably along almost every dimension. There is an urgency for concrete actions, not hollow promises.