Nepal cricketer Paras Khadka helps out with the distribution of food packets in the aftermath of the earthquakes in the nation. Photo Courtesy: Cricket Association of Nepal.
Nepal cricketer Paras Khadka helps out with the distribution of food packets in the aftermath of the earthquakes in the nation. Photo Courtesy: Cricket Association of Nepal

Nepal have experienced one of the horrific calamities of this millennium. On April 26, a deadly 7.9 magnitude hit the Himalayan nation. Thousands of people lost their lives and millions are still homeless. The cricket fraternity of the country is badly affected too. Sandipan Banerjee somehow reaches out to the CEO of Nepal cricket, Bhawana Ghimire, and tries to assess the damage which Nepal cricket has suffered.

April 11, 2015. Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) organised a memorial game for Phillip Hughes in Kathmandu. Wally Edwards, Chairman of Cricket Australia (CA), attended the match in which Australian players like Ryan Carters, Matthew Elliot, and Tim Anderson participated. A few days after, the country also acquired the hosting rights of an International Cricket Council (ICC) event — the Under-19 World Cup qualifiers. Cricket in Nepal was taking giant steps. But exactly after a fortnight, everything changed drastically.

A series of earthquakes since April 26 have almost ruined the entire nation. Death tolls are reaching a million and millions others are homeless. Survival is the only thing the Nepalese are looking for at this moment. Under these circumstances, to assess the future of the game in Nepal, CricketCountry managed to get in touch with Bhawana Ghimire — perhaps the most inspirational figure for the recent development of Nepal cricket.

CricketCountry (CC): How has cricket in Nepal been affected by these deadly earthquakes?

Bhawana Ghimire (BG): The Whole country has been affected, so we did not assess the toll it has taken on our industry. Our facilities, pavilions, grounds, academy and buildings have certainly affected. Our scheduled events have been postponed. For example, we have postponed our World Cricket League (WCL) calendar after ICC T20 qualifier.

We had selected 52 top players to conduct Super Talent Express which is supposed to be exciting and premium, but we have to cancel that. But let me make you clear: our national team is planning to tour India for the preparation.  Our team will also play preparation matches in UK and Netherlands prior to ICC T20 global qualifier. These are tough times for us, but cricket will continue to grow in Nepal.

CC: Nepal is scheduled to host the ICC Under-19 World Cup qualifier this year. Will the preparations be hampered?

BG: I do not see any problem if we are committed to perform. I am sure that we can make it a big success even after this disaster.

CC: Are all of your registered cricketers and their families safe?

BG: We have lost one of our emerging cricket players, Manoj Pandit. Other than him, the other cricketers are thankfully safe. Some of the cricketers’ houses have been affected; some have lost their family members too.

CC: How is CAN is going about the rebuilding process?

BG: Till now we have been engaged with relief distribution but of course we will be actively participating in rebuilding process to rehabilitation and well-being. We have envisioned the Bat for Nepal project. We will be playing more benefit matches and fund-raising matches for at least two years to support rebuilding process.  We have to convert this turbulent time into rebuilding opportunity.

Paras Khadka, the Nepal captain with the quake hit kids. Photo Courtesy: ekantipur.com
Paras Khadka, the Nepal captain with the quake hit kids. Photo Courtesy: ekantipur.com

CC: Are you getting help from other boards and ICC?

BG:  Our discussions are going on. All are positive. Talks have been quite fruitful. The ICC and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) have shown their concern. Even the small crickteing nations like Malaysia, Netherlands and Japan have given us their support.  I am hoping the likes of The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and other full members of ICC will support us.

CC: Do you have enough funds to continue the rebuilding process? If no then form where you are looking to get those funds?

BG: Do you mean the budget for rebuilding cricket facilities? No, we do not have adequate budget, and I need to work hard to manage it. We have planned a ‘Bat for Nepal’ project to raise funds for the rehabilitation of our country. As a part of this project, we hope to play at least eight matches against international teams or clubs inside a two-year time frame to raise the money. I am confident that budget will not be a constraint to reinstate the facilities, but we have to convert this threat into opportunities to build new facilities that will be earthquake resistant.

(Sandipan Banerjee is a reporter at CricketCountry. Cricket has been the biggest passion for him since his childhood. So, when it came to choosing his career, he chose to turn his passion into his profession. Apart from cricket he likes mountain trekking, river rafting, and photography. His twitter handle is @im_sandipan)