Interview, Nepal Women

Interview: Indu Barma sets sights high as Nepal prepares for Women’s Asia Cup 2024

The Nepalese national women’s cricket team is currently preparing for the ACC Women’s Asia Cup 2024 which starts on July 19 in Sri Lanka. This is probably their most significant recent achievement as they gear up for their third participation in the Asia Cup.

Nepal’s women’s cricket team will return to the Asia Cup after eight years, having previously competed in 2012 and 2016. Despite their return to this major tournament, there is little buzz surrounding their participation. National captain Indu Barma believes that earning recognition requires producing strong results, similar to what the men’s team has done to capture everyone’s attention.

Additionally, Barma feels that increased match exposure would provide the team with valuable experience and lead to better results. She also believes that the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) did a commendable job and is still looking for some practice matches (outside Nepal) in preparing for such a major tournament.

The women’s team last competed in the ACC Women’s Premier Cup (the Asia Cup Qualifier itself) five months ago in February. Following that, they participated in one domestic tournament, the Lalitpur Mayor’s Cup. Given their limited match exposure, there is little room to question their performance.

Cricnepal’s Sandip Poudel spoke with captain Indu Barma regarding the team’s preparations for the Asia Cup 2024 and the potential outcomes:

Q. How is Nepal preparing for the upcoming major tournament, the Asia Cup?

  • We have put in a lot of effort, and now it’s time to convert that into positive results. With the monsoon already here, we’ll be training indoors and focusing on gym work.

Q. Do you feel that Nepal has prepared adequately for the level tournament you are competing?

  • Yes, we have been in camp for the past two months and have played matches against our age-level teams as well. Currently, Gyanu Dai (Gyanendra Malla) is also overseeing the team. I believe we have done everything possible to prepare.

Q. Given the team’s heavy reliance on indoor net sessions, how much impact do you anticipate the limited match exposure will have on the results?

  • Definitely. Additional matches or series could have been beneficial for us. Despite Cricket Association of Nepal’s (CAN) best efforts, the scheduling (other team’s) made it challenging. However, a positive aspect is that we have gained valuable experience from playing numerous matches against boys, which has been very helpful for us.

Q. With a few young faces in the team, how do you sum up your squad going to such a big tournament?

  • It’s important for us to groom our new players for the future. We’re confident in the capabilities and talent of our team.

Q. With matches against big teams like India and Pakistan ahead, do you feel any pressure as captain?

  • There’s certainly some pressure, but I’m very excited to play against teams like India and Pakistan. Honestly, it’s a great opportunity for us to showcase our talent, which could potentially lead to opportunities in big leagues.

Q. Nepal initially missed out on the Asia Cup after a heartbreaking defeat against Malaysia. Now that you have another opportunity, do you see this as a chance for redemption? Where do you see Nepal by the end of the tournament?

  • We’re aiming for at least the semifinals. We’re playing against UAE in the first game. It’s crucial to defeat them and perform well against Pakistan. We’ll play our best cricket and try to produce an upset against good teams (test-playing nations). 

Q. The men’s team recently played in the T20 World Cup after a decade, and now the women’s team is participating in the Asia Cup after eight years. Do you feel that there is not enough hype?

  • Yes, may be. But I believe we need to earn that hype. If we play good cricket and achieve notable results, then surely the attention will follow in the future.

Click here to watch the interview