Nepali Cricket Team has earned one-day international (ODI) status in cricket for four years after years of hard work. The victory has come to Nepal at a time when the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has remained suspended for the last two years, hampering the efforts in cricket development. Yet these players have been successful to catapult the country’s image and send a message that they are able to earn fame for the country despite all odds. Thursday’s victory has radiated new hopes across the country. Nepal is now 16th ODI nation in ICC-ODI rankings. Nepali players proved their steely commitments that they can really do something despite a number of challenges. Now it is the responsibility of the government and concerned bodies to hoist the burgeoning zeal of players. Congratulations to Nepali stars for reviving Nepal’s hope in cricket once again. Nepal can now organize future tour programs, in or out of the country, in any of the 16 ODI nations.
However, we have failed to create enabling environment for our players to grow their potentials. For one, we still do not own a cricket stadium of international standard. The only ground, TU international cricket ground, is struggling to stay in shape due to the lack of maintenance. Once we develop cricket grounds in TU and Mulpani as per the standards set by ICC, our cricket team will be able to host international crickets in Nepal. Nepal was granted an elite status, T20 international team in 2014. By 2016, it only mustered seven international T20 matches, playing against Hong Kong (3) and the Netherlands (4). There is no guarantee that current ODI status will not be wasted in similar fashion with the current turmoil in Nepali cricket.
At a time when international teams like Pakistan and Afghanistan are struggling to play in home for different reasons, Nepal could be an ideal neutral hub with the encouraging horde of fans who want to get a glimpse of international stars along with their national heroes. With the assemblage of passionate fans, which can even beat some of the popular test teams in numbers, money can be generated for ICC or even stakeholders of Nepali cricket to earn and use it to upgrade cricket. The favorable climate and environment created by the cricket fans in Nepal make it the perfect place to host even the best of events like Pakistan Super League (PSL) or Afghanistan Premier League (APLT20). That can eventually open the doors for more Nepali players like Sandeep Lamichhane to trade tricks with foreign players in home grounds. It is open secret that Nepal is on ICC’s wish-list as priority nation. But we will be able to do more only with proper system and management to take care of cricket. We celebrate when our players earn us fame through hard work and dedication. But the real celebration happens when we will be able to support our players with world-class infrastructure here in Nepal and make CAN really functional.