What was the main problem of Nepali cricket? Why haven’t we been able to reach the height of success we were supposed to? Probably most of us would say batting. Undoubtedly, Nepali batsmen used to be quite consistent with batting inconsistency.
Let me start from ACC Twenty20. The problem there was quite strange; the batsmen were in a hurry to join their team mates in going towards the dressing room rather than building partnership at the crease. The loss against Oman for the third place showed glimpses of downfall of Nepali cricket but to the delight of all of us it was not a downfall but rather a new beginning.
Next in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in United Arab Emirates(UAE), Nepali coach Pubudu Dassaayake showed some intend to unite the players, and the players played out of their skins to help minnows finish seventh. A union of dedication and team effort was enough to beat teams like Kenya who had already tasted world cup flavour. The confidence was seem to be oozing among the seniors, but the future pillars of Nepali cricket were not giving their fight in the U19 Worldcup which were taught by their seniors in the UAE. They had quite forgettable tournament. Reasons were simple the conditions were foreign for us and youths did not show any fight at all.
Nepali players went to Malaysia with some preparations and exposures which were positive steps by the coach. Players like Paras Khadka, Shakti Gauchan were sent to Canada and for IPL trial respectively. Two promising pacers, Chandra Sawad and Bhattarai got chance to play for Srilankan U 23 at club level.
ICC World Cricket League Division 4 Tournament started with a lots of excitement as Nepal took on very known opponent, Singapore on September 3. Nepal defeated Singapore by 5 wickets then on a next day Tanzania was defeated by 8 wickets. Hosts were simply thrashed by 10 wickets two days later, and then United States of America (USA) was next victim who got defeated by 32 runs. To close group stage, Denmark was then crushed by 25 runs and Nepal reached Division 3 and created a memorable history.
Nepal and USA in the finals battle was on. All eyes were on Khakurel and Nadkarni who made 115 and 84 respectively in their league games when these two teams faced each other. It was Nepal again who came better to beat USA to lift up Division 4 trophy.
Nepal eliminated numerous traditional problems. Batting problems were eliminated by top 4 who converted into big figures turn by turn. First Airee’s blast then Khakurel’s ton then Mandal’s brilliance then Malla’s sintilating run a ball 65 and cool performance perfect risk free finish by the captain. Nepal eliminated problem of loosing at crucial stages with allround performance with bat.
Nepal’s weapon i.e. bowling was sharpened by bowling maestro Basanta Regmi who became man of the finals and also man of the series by clinching 21 preys at a decent average of 6.66. Shakti Gauchan was fantastic and got incredible figures: 10-8-2-3. Amrit Bhattarai set the tone with four for in the opener against Singapore. Sanjam Regmi also played his role as partnership breaker. Das didn’t do that badly either but his catch was really heck of a catch. He also played handy knock with the bat against Denmark.
It was not that an individual was prolific run scorer in the tournament. Turn by turn players contributed which resulted elimination of traditional batting problem. The remarkmable point is that there were six different man of the match for six different wins. This triumph story hopefully will continue in the upcoming ACC trophy and Division 3 itself if Nepali players continue this team spirit.