By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA
Until very recently, the national cricket team of Nepal scripted a spectacular and historical success narrative at the ICC World Cricket League Division Four tournament held in Malaysia.
In spite of the long wait, the cricketers made it happen in the most emphatic manner. The much anticipated and overdue accomplishment was a dream comes true for everybody closely associated with the team.
Coach Pubudu Dassanayake and his boys deserve more than just a big pat on the back for the fantastic result. After a lot of ups and downs, their hard work finally paid rich dividends.
Unlike in the past, Team Nepal put in a flawless performance from start to finish. They got off to a dazzling start and finished off in flying colors much to our delight.
They ended the competition undefeated and with an unblemished record, and, even more important, they were rewarded handsomely with the ICC World Cricket League Division Three promotion.
This is a crucial and morale booster outcome for the national team that had struggled mightily to get their act together for long. Prior to this, the team had suffered one setback after another in recent years.
We saw them on multiple occasions, come so close yet so far. They squandered a handful of great opportunities because of their inability to get their job done when needed most.
However, this time it was a complete reversal of fortune for Nepal. They displayed extra- ordinary consistency, commitment, coupled with fervor and focus throughout the competition. They had done it at last.
The Nepali batters and bowlers really came off age. By and large, it was an incredible collective effort; however, there were a handful of outstanding individual performance. One performer was sensational Basanta Regmi who was adjudged the Man of the Series for his 21 wickets haul.
Likewise, we had two century makers in Subash Khakhurel (114) and Anil Mandal (113). Highly talented Shakti Gauchan was equally impressive.
The victory was very special and momentous for an aficionado like me, and it could not have come at a more opportune time for the team. The triumph is a testament to our cricketer’s prowess, and it was a huge sigh of relief and a sense of satisfaction for all of us.
Let me speak my mind, this, was/is a result of players and coaching staff’s endeavor and hard work. In my opinion, the non-performing Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) does not deserve any credit for the team’s success.
The Malaysian success story does provide the team with an important launch pad for more spectacular wins. Now, the big question is: Can they keep up the momentum? Of course, there is plenty of reason for optimism.
But I have no definitive answers. This is only the beginning of a long arduous journey. And the matter of fact is that players face mounting challenges on many fronts.
Nepali cricket presents a dismal scenario in terms of development, infrastructure, funds and sponsorship. The root of the problem is not the structure of domestic cricket, but rather the gross incompetence and unprofessional-ism of people running the affairs of cricket.
Every government in power has used CAN by appointing its cronies to different positions to advance its political agenda. Sadly players and coaches have been reduced to helpless pawns.
There is still so much our cricketers have to do on the global platform. Without one iota of doubt, there is no dearth of talent in the country, something we often talk about.
Nepal has the potential to become a formidable cricketing nation in the world. A thought shared by many, including myself. So much has been said and written about it in recent years.
Despite high hopes and dreams, there are no signs that cricket is moving in the right direction, a bitter reality our cricketers face. That being said, CAN, though, hold the future of Nepali cricket in their hands, and without which cricket development is not possible.