Ultimate Indoor Cricket (UIC) is the first facility in Nepal for Indoor Cricket. As lust green paddy fields (cum cricket grounds in winter) turned to concrete blocks in Kathmandu-young cricket lovers who wanted to take up the sport had one big problem-where to play? Indoor cricket court like UIC is one of the answers to the question. The youths seem to like the answer too as UIC in just a week of its unveiling boasts of jam packed schedule with youths swarming in from all over Kathmandu to play the indoor version of nation’s favorite sport.
“We had faced the same problem. We have seen the city grow and cricket pitches disappear. This is our solution to the problem”, says Sudeep Nepal, managing director of UIC. Sudeep and his friends have invested 5 million rupees in the Indoor Cricket Court.
“Lot of us give up playing cricket as we enter the University or take up a job. Indoor Cricket would give people like these an option to continue the sports. The lights add to the flexibility of timings-it doesn’t matter if its night or day. With that the college students and job holders can play even after the office hours ” explained Arjun Pandeya, one of the partners of UIC.
Indoor Cricket is basically cricket with rules/regulations adapted for indoor play. The length of the indoor cricket pitch is same as that of regular cricket with collapsible spring-loaded stumps on each end. The playing area (called court) is rather small with dimensions of no more than 30mX12m (and no less than 28mX10.5m). The court is enclosed by tight netting so that ball doesn’t leave the playing area (if it does it’s called a dead ball).
With 6-8 players in a tiny field and batsman needing to run to score every run, it makes for a very quick and extremely exciting game.
Although Indoor Cricket is a new revelation in Nepal it is being played extensively in Australia and New Zealand for decades-Australia, in fact, have won all 8 Indoor World Cups organized by World Indoor Cricket Federation(WICF). The European Associate and Affiliate nations have been using the version of the game for long to promote cricket in the region. Many countires in Europe find indoor cricket absolutely essential for growth of the game.
“Indoor Cricket makes a lot of sense because sports halls are much easily accessible than cricket pitches and you require less kits and fewer players.” says former coach of France Michael Selig. “The fielder in the third man in the outdoor version of the game may be bored particularly if he doesn’t bowl and bats lower down the order but indoor sport is much more involving (as every player has to bat and bowl)” points out Selig.
Indoor Cricket is extensively employed in these countries to inject the vital basics of cricket in youths-like fielding, bowling in line and length with the ball and hitting the gaps with the bat. A lot of players in these countries start their cricketing career with Indoor Cricket. An example would be Hamid Shah from Denmark who ensured Nepal third place qualification to play offs of T20 World Cup Qualifier. He had lead Denmark to 2008 ICC European Indoor Championship before making it to the Danish National Team. Indoor Cricket has been used effectively even in test playing nations to introduce the game to beginners.
Indoor Cricket could be a similar option in Nepal-used to introduce the game to the kids and polishing their skills. Also it a sports on its own and need its own growth. Indoor Cricket at UIC is being experimented with mixture of Australian and English Rules. A guiding committee at certain level and affiliation with World Indoor Cricket Federation (WICF) should be the next step.