Fairfax – Come 17 January, cricket aficionados will be on the edge of their seats when the national cricket team of Nepal takes on Uganda in the opener of the ICC World Cricket League Division Two in Wanderers Affies, Namibia.
Team Nepal consists of a well-blended mix of youth, experience and talent. Skippered by veteran Paras Khadka they stand on the cusp of making yet another history.
The 50 million dollar question, however, on everyone’s minds is: Can Coach Dassanayake boys pull it off?
I don’t have any definitive answer. All we can do is speculate for now. Let us hope that they play to their potential and come out trumps from the competition.
Expectations surrounding Team Nepal are fairly high, undoubtedly. Whether or not, they are able to replicate the form from the 2014 season is yet to be seen.
Even if they meet expectations, they will need to put in extra effort to ensure their job gets done. In the opener against Uganda Nepal cannot afford to lose. They must get off to a flying start in order to build early momentum.
I will say, though, they have a great chance of unprecedented glory. I say this because the competition is wide open based largely on the true strengths, weaknesses and track record of teams in the fray.
The championship will be played in a round robin format and features Namibia, Uganda, Netherlands, Canada, Nepal and Kenya.
The teams are very familiar with each other having competed against one another over the years.
The side that gets off to a dream start and maintains the consistency and determination throughout the competition has a better chance to succeed.
The competition has assumed even greater significance for the profile and advancement of Nepal cricket.
There is no doubt that the team would benefit immensely with the success: qualification to ICC’s four day Inter Continental Cup and ICC World Cricket League Championship (2015-17).
Even more importantly, they have a big chance to seal their spot in the elite cricket group. With that in mind, they must set their sights on a top two finish and avoid the specter of relegation.
I have to admit that by no means it is going to be an easy task for our cricketers but they are capable of accomplishing the goal.
Definitely, it is crunch time for Team Nepal. They have to develop a winning mentality, combination and perform at their very best.
Consistency is the buzzword for them. Every match will be decisive considering the format of the competition. There is certainly no room for mediocrity and complacency if they want to stay at the top.
In addition, they have to maintain their composure and confidence. They must play their natural game, have confidence in themselves and confidence in what they do.
Although team effort is key to success, individual contribution is equally crucial. Of course, the team will rely on individual brilliance as the situation warrants.
Cricketers have the platform to showcase their talents and the opportunity to strike it rich for the team.
The build up to the competition that started in Sri Lanka and concluded in South Africa has been the best ever. The team has prepared adequately for the competition.
Going by the team’s performance in three warm -up matches in South Africa, there is some concern and plenty of room for improvement in very department of the game
I will not discuss the technical flaws of our cricketers nor strategies and game plans because I am not the expert. I am only a keen sport observer who follows and has a fairly good understanding of cricket. That said, I do have the luxury to make a few observations.
Openers Naresh Budhayer and Subash Khakurel must get their act together in time. They need to get the innings off to a good start. A big opening partnership is expected of them.
Skipper Khadkha’s good form, especially with the bat is heartening for the team. His sparkling 123 runs was quite a treat. When it comes to motivation, he must again prove himself to be a great cheerleading captain.
Sensational all- rounder Sompal Kami, playing a pivotal role for the team continues to show good form with both bat and ball. The youngster must rise to the occasion and deliver the goods.
Experienced Gyanendra Malla, Shakti Gauchan and Sharad Vesawkar steadying influence once again will be heavily relied upon.
I am looking forward to seeing Team Nepal script yet another epic success story in the African Continent.