The Nepalese national cricket team are back home after featuring in the Asia Cup 2023 – their first-ever appearance in the tournament. Team Nepal played against world cricket’s giants – India and Pakistan.
Nepal showed a prominent batting display against India, which was praised throughout the cricketing world. They bowled well against Pakistan. Moreover, the Nepalese team got the match exposure in Pakistan and Sri Lankan land for the very first time.
Following the appointment of Monty Desai as the head coach of Nepal’s men’s national cricket team in February 2023, the team has achieved remarkable success and made a significant mark in cricketing history.
From the jaws of losing ODI status, Nepal won 11 out of 12 matches to finish third in the table of CWC League 2, earning them a direct berth in the Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2023 in Zimbabwe. The tournament marked Nepal’s first encounter with a Test-playing nation in the ODI format.
The Nepalese Team thrashed UAE on the reserve day of the ACC Premier Cup final in front of around 25 thousand spectators at TU Cricket Ground to secure a spot in the Emerging Team’s Asia Cup and also a place in the Asia Cup.
So, after bagging numerous milestones and shining bright in the cricketing world, what next for Nepal?
The answer is simple – ICC T20 World Cup 2024.
Nepal will be eyeing a spot in the T20 World Cup after ten years. They featured for the first time in 2014’s edition, which was held in Bangladesh. Hence, after three editions of the tournament (2016, 2020 and 2022), Nepal now has a significant chance to earn a spot in the upcoming event.
How can Nepal Qualify for the 2024 T20 World Cup?
In the 2024 edition, a total of 20 teams will participate, with 15 of them already confirmed their seat. Two each teams from Asia and Africa Qualifier and one from the Americas Qualifier are yet to be confirmed.
Nepal is set to host the Asia Qualifier from 30 October to 9 November 2023. The tournament will consist of eight teams divided into two groups. The top two teams from each group will progress to the semifinals, and the winners of these semifinal matches will earn their spots in the World Cup.
Challenges for Nepal?
Nepal, Oman, Hong Kong, UAE, Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia and one team from the sub-regional tournament will compete in the regional final. With the enthusiastic backing of a large home crowd, Nepal is definitely one of the favourites to win the tourney.
Nonetheless, the road ahead won’t be a smooth one for Nepal, considering their extensive involvement in ODI cricket. Nepal’s last T20I encounter took place against Kenya in August 2022, and since then, they have participated in 33 ODI matches.
Additionally, T20I is a condensed format with minimal room for errors. Furthermore, UAE, Oman, and Hong Kong possess competitive T20I teams featuring powerful batters and skilled bowlers.
Formula to succeed.
With only a month and an additional week remaining until the tournament, they should swiftly shift their focus to T20Is. Organize special high-performance camps to enhance the power-hitting abilities of the players, as well as provide specialized training for bowlers to develop various variations, which plays a crucial role in T20I. Additionally, prioritize the development of all-rounders who can make meaningful contributions both with the bat and ball.
Nepal should consider hosting big teams and also strong associate teams like Oman, UAE and Hong Kong on the home turf. This would aid in identifying weaknesses of their own team as well as pinpointing potential loopholes in their likely opponents. Moreover, this provides valuable match exposure and confidence ahead of the pivotal competition.