Opinion

Cricketers need to step their game up to corner glory

ACC Twenty20 Cup 2013

With only a few days to go, it looks, though; the national cricket team of Nepal is ready to flex their muscles in the ACC Twenty20 qualifiers in Kathmandu.

The competition brings ten recognizable names to town. Nepal, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Maldives, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Afghanistan, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain are vying for top honors.

Apparently, there is plenty at stakes for teams in the tournament. The winners and runners-up advance to 2013 ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers taking place in the UAE later this year.

The final qualifying round will have sixteen regional qualifiers fighting for six spots. In other words, the top six finishers will move to the final round of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

They will join ten full member teams which have already qualified automatically to the competition.

The eagerly awaited ACC Twenty20 spectacle is expected to put cricket aficionados on the edge of their seats.
The nature of the newest version of limited over cricket is such that the excitement never ends. No wonder it’s become a craze.

The sport is so unpredictable that anything can happen, and we have seen it often. It is fast paced, drama – filled, gripping and riveting. There is no such thing as guarantee in the game.

When all is said and done, what it comes down to is that anybody can win, especially the one with the best approach, coupled with a positive mindset, consistency and high confidence level.

Interestingly, Coach Pubudu Dassanayake and his boys are looking for their third championship title in a row. The big question is: Do they really stand a chance in the competition? Opinions may vary.

I say yes. This may sound like a diehard partisan fan. I genuinely think Team Nepal has a very, very good chance to win the whole thing.

2012 was an extraordinary year for the senior national team in terms of accomplishment. They finally were able to snap their long losing streak by winning two very important tournaments.

All in all, the team put up a stellar performance that we had not seen before. Also individual brilliance made a world of difference in securing the good result.

They must replicate their form which helped them win ICC World Cricket League Division 4 and ACC Elite Cup last year.
They cannot afford to kill any momentum built up in the last ten or so months. I would also add that, equally important is they make the most of home advantage.

There is literally no room for complacency and mediocrity. Most of their opponents are familiar faces that they have played, time and time again, in recent years.

Nevertheless, they should avoid the mistake of undermining or underestimating opposition, otherwise, it could sure prove to be costly for them.

In my opinion Nepal is one of the favorites. The team skippered by experienced all rounder Paras Khadka is a blend of experience, talent and youth.

Names in the likes of Shakti Gauchan, Sharad Vesawkar, Gyanendra Malla and many more makes them a formidable squad. Hopefully, the selectors have not blundered and picked the best players available.

That being said, the host can assure themselves a place in the final qualifiers in the UAE only if they perform to their true potential. This is another big opportunity for them to raise to the occasion and impress the global cricketing community.

The pre-tournament preparation undertaken by the team was decent. They traveled to India where they played a series of one day matches, which included four 50 over and six Twenty20.

It was a mixed bag result wise. That says a lot. There is plenty of room for improvement and players seriously need to work on their shortcomings right before start of the competition.

Coach Dassanayake is doing a fantastic job under difficult circumstances. He is well aware of the team’s strengths and vulnerabilities, and he is definitely doing his very best to overcome it.

We can whine all we want about what the coach or players should do or be doing. At the end of the day, it boils down to their ability to deliver the goods when it matters most. My advice to players is: You must step your game up and give your best.

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