In Focus, National

CAN’s Tug of War

Kathmandu – Nepal Cricket’s authority Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has for long been the villain figure in Nepal Cricket.  Somesh Verma who has covered Nepal Cricket for over a decade often tweets how they used mock “CAN” as “CANNOT” during his early days.   As a result a few days back the government suspended all executive members of CAN and formed a new ad-hoc committee lead by former president of CAN Binay Raj Pandey.

The war in the CAN has two clear faces-The players against CAN which with tremendous support from all around gave rise to Government vs CAN and led to the suspension of all of CAN’s board members.

Players vs CAN
Well, the players have always been dissatisfied with CAN and rightly so. Paras Khadka in particular had been slamming CAN with every opportunity he got in front of media for over a year.

But the real face off started on April 10 when 18 players in the national squad led by Paras Khadka announced that they would boycott all domestic and international cricket unless a new management is chosen over  CAN, accusing the CAN members and  the Association itself of being corrupt and careless.  The players were particularly angry about how CAN had been unwilling to extend Dasanayake’s tenure.

However, this was not the first time players faced-off against CAN. In 2010 the players had taken a similar step but to no avail. Nepal cricket team had not achieved anything much till 2010 and the issue did not receive any attention from the government. But the situation was different this time-having returned highlighting Nepal maiden T20 World Cup, backed by tremendous support from media and fans government had to take an action.

After being accused “corrupt” by players the CIAA (Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority) investigated CAN and filed corruption charges against 10 of CAN members including CAN’s president Tanka Angbuhang for embezzlement worth millions. CIAA also deemed CAN ineligible to run Cricket in Nepal and first suggested its dissolution.

This whole issue was wrapped up after formation of a committee which included Paras Khadka, NSC secretary Yubaraj Lama. The committee was supposed to look over the functioning of CAN. The committee however, never functioned.

Government vs. CAN (The Political Tug of War)
An extremely bad culture of nepotism  has been established in Nepal by political parties, where close associates of the ruling party get lucrative post in government and non-government sectors. CAN shares similar story.

CAN’s former president Tanka Angbuhang, a central committee member of Maoist, was nominated (elected later) the president of CAN in 2011 by then ruling party Maoist dissolving the previous CAN in a similar way as this time.  The political influence was quite evident in ACC Elite Cup 2013 where several Maoist leaders and only Maoist leaders were invited as special guests during Nepal’s matches.

Many also believe that the CIAA investigation was a political decision and there would have been no investigations if Maoists were still on power.

Coming to the government (alliance of Nepali Congress and NCP UML) wanted a share of Nepal’s most influential sport. As the players urged the government to form a new management they got a easy way in.

Meanwhile the issue with Pubudu’s rehiring was getting entangled with CAN showing absolutely no signs of bringing him back and players pointing out they would not play without him.  The CAN members opined that they could not keep him owning to lack of finances. The government stepped in here and extended Pubudu’s term by a year through cabinet meeting on 1st July.

As Dassanayake returned the Mo YS directed CAN to develop a working contract with Dasanayake which CAN failed to draft even after 3 months. The government had waiting enough and with ICC’s 80 mil fine, CIAA charges and suggestions, unwillingness to work with Dassanayake it had enough dirt on CAN to dissolve it.

Minister Paudel had time and again been hinting that they would the government was planning to replace CAN with a Cricket Board and suddenly on November 9-the very day Nepal left for the Sri Lanka tour- the cabinet announced that it had dissolved CAN and formed a new ad-hoc committee would do CAN’s work. For many it seemed like it was start of the Cricket Board.  But Paudel a week later informed that CAN was only suspended. However moving on to formation of a Cricket Board is one of seven government’s mandates to the new ad-hoc committee.

The committee currently has only three members including Pandey, vice-president Sriharsha Koirala and general secretary Ramesh Kumar Silwal and follows the same shameful course of political nepotism.  Sriharsha Koirala is the nephew of Prime Minisnter Sushil Koirala and Ramesh Kumar Silwal has been long associated with UML.

The suspended members mortified by the decision have pointed out that they are going to take this to the court. Using CAN’s official email and social media handles they have informed that they are not going to run off from CAN.

In the End
CAN members’ carelessness and indifference towards their responsibility is the main reason for CAN being here today. But with political appointments like these in place of the old members it difficult to be hopeful.