Nepali Cricket: A travesty

Let me congratulate Team Nepal for finishing second in the ACC Twenty20 qualifiers that concluded in Kathmandu recently.

No doubt, success over nemesis Afghanistan in the final match would have been an ideal result. I have no intent to undermine the team’s runners-up finish. The host put up a pretty decent performance, by and large.

At the end they went down to a vastly improved Afghanistan that has taken dramatic strides in international cricket. On the day the superior side won, undoubtedly.

In spite of defeat, more important, Nepal for the first time advanced to the next round of the qualifiers taking place in the United Arab Emirates, later this year. The result is heartening, and we can take lots of positives from the team’s performance.

All in all, it was the result of individual brilliance and concerted effort on part of the entire team. One player who stood out was Paras Khadka, skipper of the national team, a genuine all rounder. He well deserved player of the tournament for his outstanding performance.

Yes, there is plenty of scope for improvement, and the team must work extremely hard on their weaknesses. All credit goes to cricketers for their incredible commitment and fighting spirit.

The main point that needs to be understood here is that the team has been playing under tremendous duress and awfully challenging circumstances for a very long period of time.

They have done their very best to deliver the goods, and they have succeeded, time and time again. There is, however, no end in sight to their woes, so to speak.

They are left with no choice but to rely on pitiable infrastructure facilities, non-performing Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and a domestic cricket in shambles.

They have bravely withstood frustration, disappointment and heart breaks, over the decades. Yet their optimism and zeal has remained unruffled, and they continue to play with the same drive, vitality and ambition, especially in pursuit of national glory.

The irony is that despite the increasing popularity of cricket and success achieved by our youth and senior teams internationally, uncertainty still hangs over the future of Nepali cricket.

Nothing concrete has changed, and sadly, the cricketing landscape remains more or less the same. Informed sport enthusiasts are aware that cricket is not heading in the right direction.

Evidence to this is the stagnant state of national cricket. The fact of the matter is cricketers are hardly benefitting from domestic cricket that is depressing, pathetic and meager structurally.

Like most national associations in Nepal, CAN is controlled by politicians instead of professionals. When political appointees take charge of the governing body there is not much to anticipate in terms of honest, excellent and effective governance.

In all fairness, if they seriously carry the resolve, vision and commitment, they, certainly, can make a world of difference by making important contribution towards the enhancement of the sport. Sorry to say, that has not been the case so far.

It is very apparent that their priorities are elsewhere, and they do not care a hoot about their responsibility or accountability.

We all know they are masters at making false promises. We have seen this trend from the time of former President of CAN Jay Nath Shah, and the tradition has been carried on by his predecessors to this day which is lamentable

Long as we have dishonest, incompetent and unprofessional people at the helm of power; it is hard to envisage the development of cricket in Nepal. The real victims are cricketers who have sacrificed their entire careers for the sport they care and love so much.

Much has been said and written about the need to transform and improve Nepali cricket. It hardly matters. Every suggestion has fallen on deaf ears and flushed down the toilet eventually.

Big talk like, Nepal has the prospect to become an international cricketing venue or Nepal has the potential to become a force to reckon with in world cricket has become irrelevant. Cricket fans across the country have echoed these sentiments for very long but all in vain.

What a travesty. What can be done to give Nepali cricket a face lift ? I don’t have the answer.

In his latest interview skipper Paras Khadka opined that ineptness and unwillingness to undertake the challenge on part of the responsible, coupled with the absence of an effective system has acutely impeded the development of cricket.

He added that cricketers are helpless and have to shoulder the onus unfairly whenever they fail to get the desired results.

I could not agree more. The bottom line is: Sans a strong, professional system, adequate infrastructure, and a team of committed professionals, sustainable cricket development is virtually impossible.

The national team now in Bermuda is gearing up for the 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three, starting 28 April.

There is plenty at stake for the six competing teams. The two top sides in the competition qualify for the 2014 ICC Cricket World Cup. Team Nepal gets another big opportunity to prove themselves to take their game up a notch.

I feel optimistic about the team’s chances, and hopefully they embrace success and come out with flying colors.