In Focus, Opinion

Nepal T20 League was a fiasco

The recently concluded controversy-laced inaugural franchise-based Nepal T20 cricket league tournament held in Kathmandu was a huge relief to the Cricket Association of Nepal.

The tarnished tournament barely made it to the finish line with victory for Lumbini All Stars over Biratnagar Super Kings in the final.

The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), the organizer had hoped for a resounding success of the competition.

Contrary to expectations, it turned out to be a downright disaster. As a matter of fact, the debacle was the cricket body’s own making. They have become the butt of a joke.

After much speculation, suspense, drama, and postponements the tournament was designed to rival the Everest Premier League and finally kicked off.

The competition started and concluded amidst controversies and scandals. It totally failed to fire up spectator interest and matches were marked by shockingly low turnouts.

As news of spot-fixing, match-fixing, organizers fleeing the country,non-payment to players and broadcasters, players refusing to play without getting paid and some international players returning back home early surfaced, chaos reigned and the tournament was on the verge of going bust.

To make matters worse, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) launched an investigation into allegations of match-fixing at the Ministry of Home Affairs’ behest.

Cricket aficionados across the country rightly and quickly questioned the validity of the competition and criticized CAN for its gross incompetence.

Evidently, the competition was organized in the most shocking, unprofessional, and egregious manner. The cricket body was guilty of mishandling the proceedings from start to finish.

Furthermore, they knowingly violated the law of the land by allowing overseas players to play in the tournament without a work permit.

It speaks volumes about the cricket association’s absolute mismanagement, ineptness, negligence, arrogance, lack of preparation, and foresight, coupled with poor planning.

Even before the tournament started, the much-publicized and hyped event was roiled in controversies.

CAN faced a firestorm of criticism over its decision to not accord its approval to the private sector to conduct its own franchise-based T20 tournament.

It was a dumb, stupid decision that was outrageous, unacceptable, and unreasonable. Expectedly it backfired almost immediately.

In response, the organizer and six teams of the Everest Premier League(EPL), the first and the biggest franchise-based T20 league in the country in no time filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court against CAN.

Despite red flags raised about Seven3Sports, CAN, unheeding, went ahead and forged the controversial partnership.

As per the latest report, CBI in its investigation concluded that there was match-fixing and spot-fixing. And two players have been nabbed by the police in this regard.

The government must hold CAN liable for failing in their responsibilities and bypassing the work permit requirement for foreign players.

Clearly, there is an accountability problem in CAN. We cannot continue to allow such incompetent officials to run the show. If not, Nepal cricket will suffer, stagnate and go nowhere.

There is no accountability and transparency in the functioning of present office bearers. They have turned the cricket body into one big joke.

For decades bad governance, weak leadership, petty politics, factionalism, paucity of funds, and lack of infrastructure and facilities have plagued Nepal cricket.

Unless there are meaningful changes at CAN in terms of leadership, executives, and management, things won’t change.