The men’s Under-19 national cricket team of Nepal is geared up for the ICC Under-19 Men’s World Cup cricket championship starting on January 19th in South Africa.
The young guns open their challenging fixture against New Zealand on January 21st.
Obviously they are in a tough group comprising Pakistan, New Zealand and Afghanistan.
For Team Nepal this is yet another opportunity to prove themselves and make a meaningful impact.
They arrived in South Africa a little over two weeks ago prior to start of the competition to prepare themselves for the challenge.
They played warm-up matches against Namibia, Scotland and the West Indies.
They got the better of Namibia in a thrilling encounter and convincingly prevailed over Scotland twice.
Disappointingly Nepal’s final tune-up match against the West Indies was washed out.
Team Nepal did get limited exposure to the hard and bouncy nature of South African pitches.
Certainly they must have realized the intimidating and challenging pitch conditions.
The lack of proper adjustment to the conditions makes it physically and mentally demanding and exhausting for visiting teams on all fronts of the game.
There is no doubt that Nepal faces tough challenges, and they have to play their best cricket to defy the odds to turn the corner.
Definitely the three wins Nepal registered in the tune-up matches must have lifted their confidence, spirit and confidence. Also they built some momentum for themselves.
Going into the opener against New Zealand, Head Coach Jagat Tamata boys must ride on this momentum.
When all is said and done, it all comes down to commitment, focus, application, technique, consistency, self-belief, resiliency and a positive mindset.
Given the immensity of the tournament, they cannot afford to be complacent at any point of the game, be it batting or bowling or fielding
It is crucially important that they play to their strengths and potential throughout the competition.
Additionally, they have to display fighting spirit and be able to perform under pressure.
Looking back at the team’s dismal performance in the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2023, clearly they underperformed in every department of the game.
Both batters and bowlers failed to live up to the expectations and struggled mightily throughout.
The mediocre performance raised many eyebrows, and Coach Tamata was left with a big responsibility to reignite the fortunes of his side going into the World Cup.
I am pretty sure that the youngsters have learned from the Asia Cup setback and are doing everything to work on their shortcomings and improve their performance.
I am hoping to see a much improved performance from Team Nepal. Admittedly it is not going to be easy. But they have to look forward to the challenge with optimism. The key is rising to the challenge and play to full potential.
Forget not that in the 2006 World Cup the Under-19 team made cricketing history by winning the Plate championship in Sri Lanka, defeating two Test playing nations, South Africa and New Zealand in the semi-finals and final. The accomplishment put Nepal on the world cricket map.
In fact it was the biggest international sporting achievement in the sports history of Nepal.
Also the Under-19 outfit finished second behind Zimbabwe and the West Indies in the Plate finals of the 2002 and 2008 World Cup in New Zealand and Malaysia respectively.
The present outfit must take inspiration from the past teams. It is something they have to strive to emulate .The importance of putting on a good performance consistently cannot be overemphasized.
Batters and bowlers have to be at the peak of their form. They must give their wholehearted efforts, step up and take the game to the next level to stand any chance in the tournament.