Nepal’s batting in absolute shambles

Dev Khanal and Aasif Sheikh

Fairfax, VA – The Men’s national cricket team of Nepal wrapped up the Scotland series under ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 with a humiliating defeat at the hands of hosts Scotland recently.

The home team comfortably cruised to an eight-wicket victory in just 19 overs after cheaply dismissing the opponent for a dismal total of 128 in 35.5 overs only.

Another day, another match, and another batting slump, best sums up Nepal’s agonizing performance on the final day of the competition. The batting was at its worst.

The batting line-up collapsed like a pack of cards. Such substandard was the performance that a negligible 71 runs came off the bat of seven top-order batters (from opener Kushal Bhurtel to wicket-keeper Binod Bhandari). If you take away Aasif Sheikh’s individual score of 40, the six contributed an embarrassing 31 runs.

They batted though they were in a hurry to catch a bus. They were guilty of throwing away wickets and clearly lacked the ability to play big and long innings.

Defending a modest total was challenging and never going to be easy for Nepal. The bowlers were under intense pressure from the outset and had to be at their very best to produce a stunning victory.

Frontline pace attack duo of Sompal Kami and Karan KC’s efforts to stage a fightback went in vain as they came under assault from the very first over. Unable to withstand the pressure they lost their way eventually.

Skipper Sandeep Lamichhane fared no better and got pummeled. He ended up with the worst bowling figure in the series. In 6 overs he conceded 41 runs for 1 wicket.

Scotland Cricket Team
Scotland Cricket Team

The Scottish openers were determined and intent to unsettle and dominate the bowlers, which they did successfully. They made mincemeat of Nepal’s bowling attack reaching the target in just 19 overs for the loss of 2 wickets.

With the loss, Nepal concluded the disastrous Scotland triangular series with three defeats and one win. By and large, the performance was uninspiring, lackluster, and sloppy.

Going into the series, the expectation of Nepal was very high, but they were a total failure, failing to live up to their potential and perform as a unit. As is well known, batting contributed largely to the debacle.

There is no excuse for the sub-par batting performance marked by inconsistency, poor shot selection, casual approach, lack of application, and soft dismissal.

Let me be blunt – the poor quality, pathetic and spineless batting was difficult to watch and made a mockery of Team Nepal. The poor batting standard is wholly unacceptable

Admittedly, the kind of batting we witnessed will take Nepal nowhere internationally. The batters were low on confidence, incoherent, consistently struggled for form, and technically exposed.

Speaking of the current crop of batters, they are talented, no doubt, but are relatively young and inexperienced. They are lacking focus, self-confidence, confidence in their game, match temperament, and mental strength.

It appears though they are not learning from their mistakes. Match after match they seemed to make the same mistakes over and over. It is imperative that they learn and grow through failures. They should be able to perform well under challenging circumstances.

They have a long way to go with plenty of hard work to do before they can carve a niche for themselves in the national team.

When all is said and done, it boils down to the individual’s performance, and ability to deliver the goods and make the most of the chances that come his way.

Given the lack of depth and inexperience in batting, the Cricket Association of Nepal(CAN) and selectors may have erred by overlooking experienced former skippers Gyanendra Malla and Sharad Vesawkar to name a few. The two are far from finished and still can be a big asset for the team in the batting department.

Nepal vs Scotland
Nepal vs Scotland

The captaincy of Sandeep Lamichhane has raised many eyebrows. He has been lackluster in the role and has not lived up to expectations. I feel handing the captain’s armband to him too early was a mistake.

Lack of quality pitches both turning and fast is one of the major hindrances in the development and production of both batters and bowlers at the domestic level.

There is an urgency to produce both quality seamers and spinners in good numbers so the batters get accustomed to both types of bowling.

The existing docile pitches must be upgraded to international standards. The youngsters need the much-needed regular international exposure at the highest level against quality opponents.

In addition, there is a need to raise the standard and quality of domestic tournaments in all formats of the game.

The management must address the team’s perennial batting woes before it deteriorates further. Apart from that, infrastructures and facilities are woefully inadequate. It is a shame that all these years CAN have lagged behind when it comes to the upliftment of cricket in the true sense. They have done very little for the development and improvement of the game.

In other words, the game has suffered largely due to maladministration, mismanagement, incompetence, and lack of vision on part of CAN for decades.

As a matter of fact, the cricket body has always been mired in petty politics and controversies and run by incompetent, dishonest, and unprofessional who have made a laughing stock of themselves.

CAN needs ethical leadership, good governance, and the right people fully committed to achieving sustainable development goals. If nothing changes, everything stays the same.