Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

Nepal can become a major cricketing force among associate countries

Nepal can become a major cricketing force among associate countries

Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c) with the Nepali cricket team at Tribhuvan University Cricket ground in Kathmandu on 16, June 2012 © AFP

By Bharath Ramaraj

With those majestic mountains, thundering rivers, frozen valleys and forested hills, Nepal is a spectacularly beautiful country for an adventure tourist. These days, the landlocked country isn’t just famous for its tourism; with the advent of cable television in the late 90′s; people across rural areas of the country have been hooked to a game called cricket. There is feeling that cricket will soon overtake football as the most popular sport in Nepal. An average turnout of 11,000 raucous supporters during the ACC T20 Trophy held in Nepal this year, which tells you how cricket is a game that binds the entire nation.

Cricket was introduced to Nepal almost a century ago by the Rana dynasty, but it was mainly played among the elite in Kathmandu. It was only in the 90′s, when the sport grew in stature, and became extremely popular outside the confines of Kathmandu. They were granted ICC affiliate status in 1988 and since 1996; Nepal has been recognised as an Associate member of ICC.

Nepal has consistently participated in World Cricket Leagues (WCL) and ACC Trophies. They took part in the Inter-continental Cup twice, but couldn’t make it past the first round. In their defence, it has to be said that Nepal was unlucky in ’05, as in spite of upsetting the apple-cart by defeating their formidable foes United Arab Emirates (UAE), they didn’t progress. Last year, Nepal’s cricket team brought cheers to millions of fans across the length and breadth of the country by winning the WCL Division Four. In the ACC elite 50-over trophy final, in a nail biting thriller against UAE, they managed to tie the game, and share the trophy with UAE.

Despite all those encouraging results in 2012, Nepal’s cricket cognoscenti reckon the Cricket association of Nepal (CAN) haven’t given the kind of infrastructure that is required to take the game to greater heights. To make matters worse, CAN isn’t professional in its set up. The board is run on an amateur basis, one can find a school teacher or a Principal running the day to day operations of the board. When promising youngsters like Kanishka Chaugai get disillusioned with the system, and look for greener pastures elsewhere, you know there are loopholes in the system that have to be plugged.

In 2010, Nepal’s firebrand captain Paras Khadka and his teammates even went on a strike against the board. A few of Khadka’s detractors accused him of being brash, but the move to go on a strike has in many ways helped Nepal’s cricket to come out of virtual darkness. A National Academy was set up in January 2013. There are at least 17 turf wickets, and 65 cricket grounds in Nepal today.

There has never been dearth of talented cricketers in Nepal. The likes of Khadka, Vesawkar, Binod Das, Alam, Subash Khakurel, Anil Mandal, Malla, Basanta Regmi, Bhandari, Shakti Gauchan, Baskota and company have proved their mettle time and again in the lower rungs of world cricket.  Both Khakurel and Mandal impressed cricket enthusiasts with their raw talent in the World Cricket League Division 4. In the recently concluded ACC T20 trophy, the firebrand captain Paras Khadka made the cricketing world to sit up and take notice of his all-round prowess by amassing 207 runs at 41.40, and taking four wickets. He signed off the tournament in a grand fashion by scoring  a half century in the final against Afghanistan.

The impressive performances chalked up by Nepal last year, and in the just concluded ACC T20 tournament shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel. One man, who has been responsible for the remarkable turnaround is the former Sri Lankan wicket-keeper, and current national coach of Nepal, Pubudu Dassanayake. When he took over as the coach of the team, Nepal found themselves in choppy waters. Under his watchful guidance Nepal’s cricket team has gone from strength to strength. Dassanayake also played a key role in setting up of the academy.

The way Nepal’s cricketers banished their inner demons, and exorcised the ghosts that haunted them in the past, bulldozed Malaysia in World Cricket League Division Four last year, augurs well for the future of Nepal’s cricket. Interestingly, the coach of Malaysia is Roy Dias — former Sri Lankan batsman who coached Nepal for more than a decade. During his stint as a coach, Nepal’s cricketers lacked the big match temperament which resulted in disappointing results. But hope springs eternal. Nepal cricket is taking small strides towards development.

Everyone talks regarding the amazing story about the rise of fearless giant-killers Afghanistan. In a short space of time, the Afghanistan team leap-frogged other Associate nations to become a force to reckon with. With home-grown talent, Nepal too can become a major cricketing force among associate countries. But for that to become a reality, they need a professional set up which focuses on grassroots cricket and domestic cricket.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Rajasthan Royals won by 4 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014  at Sharjah

Royal Challengers Bangalore won by 8 wkts

Photos

RCB vs MI, IPL 2014 Match 5 at Dubai

Videos

Video Highlights: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders wickets

JP Duminy scripts sensational 4-wicket win for Delhi Daredevils over Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014

Kevin Pietersen has no way back into England setup, says Paul Downton

Royal Challengers Bangalore coast to 7-wicket win over Mumbai Indians in IPL 2014

BCCI members to attend crucial meeting

IPL 2014: Anjinkya Rahane says he was confident of overhauling Sunrisers Hyderabad’s target

BCCI Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga MS Dhoni Mumbai Indians Rohit Sharma Royal Challengers Bangalore Virat Kohli

Shashank Manohar to attend BCCI Working Committee meeting on April 20

JP Duminy scripts sensational 4-wicket win for Delhi Daredevils over Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2014

Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab IPL 2014, Match 7 Preview: Teams aiming to maintain winning start

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Delhi Daredevils (DD) IPL 2014: Delhi still in with a chance; score 123/4 after 15 overs

Kevin Pietersen has no way back into England setup, says Paul Downton

Doug Insole: More than just an administrator

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: His words found their way even into the cricket world

Brendon Kuruppu scores the slowest double-hundred of all time

IPL 2014: Rajasthan Royals’ team composition vital for success

Kings XI Punjab’s local talent gives them an added dimension in IPL 2014

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

1 Posts | 0 Fans

Glenn Maxwell's 95, Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings IPL 2014 Video Highlights

Breeze, a fitness app that encourages users to walk

IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) vs Mumbai Indians (MI), Match 5 at Dubai

Khloe Kardashian casually dating French Montana?

LinkedIn’s user base crosses 300 million mark

Shashank Manohar to attend BCCI Working Committee meeting on April 20

Chetan Bhagat: 2 States is quite close to me because the inspiration came from my own life!

Also on cricketcountry.com