Fairfax – The whipping Nepal took at the 2015 ICC Twenty/20 World Cup Qualifiers in Belfast, Ireland was unexpected and beyond imagination.
Nothing went right for Nepal. The competition was a fiasco in terms of performance and result. They were battered, outplayed and failed dismally.
There is absolutely no excuse for the poor result. Without any iota of doubt, the team’s performance was sub-par, and no wonder they eventually paid a heavy price for their failure.
Furthermore, adding fuel to the fire, Mumbai-based physiotherapist Dr. Bashir Ashai, working with the team was arrested for sexual assault and later Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) did the right thing by terminating his contract.
Team Nepal entered the fray with high hopes and confidence and was touted as one of the hot contenders. However, they turned out to be merely a pale shadow of the team that performed so strongly in the final round of the 2014 edition in Bangladesh.
Shockingly, unlike past, the team did not display any fighting abilities that had captivated the imagination of cricket aficionados and earned unprecedented praises across the globe.
Contrary to all expectations, players appeared terribly out of form, lacked drive, motivation and confidence through out the championship. They were lethargic, struggled to find rhythm and surrendered meekly.
On top of that, they seemed mentally, physically and emotionally drained and out in the wilder
Despite everything, as always, fans were very enthusiastic, supportive and remained optimistic. They had faith in the team and looked forward to a productive competition.
Unfortunately, Coach Dassanayake’s boys fell miles short of expectations much to everyone’s chagrin.
Although tight and hectic, the team undertook a three-nation tour of India, England and the Netherlands as part of preparation for the qualifiers.
It was exactly the kind of groundwork they needed for the competition. However, upon conclusion of the tour, things did not look particularly rosy for the team, especially the vague, sloppy manner in which they played.
The team’s pre-tournament jitters, mediocrity and poor form had raised lots of questions and concerns. They had a mountain to climb.
It was very obvious that they needed to turn things around dramatically. It was possible unless they performed exceedingly well to make a dent in the competition and put themselves in contention for a spot in the final round of the tournament.
Disappointingly they carried their lackluster form into the tournament and failed to cash in on a winning start.
Weak batting largely contributed to the team’s debacle. The batters struggled like never seen before and appeared incoherent all the way to the end. They struggled with their timing, technique and never got going.
Skipper Paras Khadkha was unable to rally his team and looked a vulnerable figure coupled with his own poor form.
Yes, the team flopped badly, but by no means; it is the end of the road. One tournament disaster does not make Nepal bad. Even the best teams in the world have bad patches.
It would be very unfair to take away players’ contribution to the growing popularity of cricket in Nepal. Without their contribution, Nepal cricket would not be where it is today.
The fact of the matter is that they have defied odds, overcome challenging circumstances and battled CAN that has been dysfunctional and ineffective for long to put Nepal cricket firmly on the international map.
The success achieved by them in recent years underscores their potential and what they are capable of achieving.
The talent we have is incredible and unbelievable. Given the right training, direction, environment and exposure, they have the ability to take Nepali cricket to new heights.
The latest setback should be an eye opener for everyone, including players and management. Hopefully lessons will have been learnt for future challenges.
That being said, there is an urgency to resolve the batting problems that is in tatters and repeatedly letting the team down. I agree, it is easier said than done.
Nonetheless, the search has to be for batting talent. It is the flawed system and that has led to dearth of batting talent.
Nothing will change, long as Nepali cricket is in the hands of unprofessional, incompetent, corrupt and unscrupulous administrators and cricketers are forced to rely on a very weak domestic cricket structure.
Team Nepal currently in Scotland for the ICC World Cricket League takes on the home side. They have another chance to reinvent themselves and must display a knack for rebounding from failure.