Last week was a bit disappointing for Nepali cricket fans as our national cricket team got knocked out from the global qualifiers race after losing the decisive match with Singapore in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Region Qualifiers in Singapore. Wins or losses are quite natural for a sports team because no team can produce winning results all the time. But Nepal’s national team’s story is a bit different because they could have performed much better if they had institutional support and infrastructure facility available in the country. Had they won the match against Singapore and were selected for the global qualifiers for the T20 World Cup it would be a very good opportunity for a country like Nepal to boost its image. Nepali cricketers, who have created a very good impression in the international cricket fraternity in recent years, would get a best platform to further prove them.
Nepali cricketers have produced good results in international matches in recent years despite several challenges, shortcomings and controversies surrounding cricket back home. But inconsistency is one of the major problems of Nepali national team. We must do serious soul-searching if we are to take our national cricket to a new height. Over the time, our batsmen as well as bowlers have become predictable for the rivals because we have the same set and limited number of players for many years. For this we need to create a big pool of players with variety of expertise so that we can surprise the opponents with different strategies and tactics. This is necessary for a national team to win crucial matches and progress to higher level. For this we need a combination of young talented players as well as experienced ones. We, at the same time, shouldn’t forget that if we are to expect consistent performance from our players, the authorities must ensure consistent and institutional support to the players. For consistent performance, we must create a situation whereby our players do not have to worry much about basic things like diets and earning livelihoods. Our players have somehow produced good results but that is based on personal efforts and initiatives by some handful of individuals such as the captain and coaches. We badly lack institutional initiatives, decision-making process and a system of identifying and grooming young players. The situation worsened mainly due to factional feuds within the country’s cricket governing body, Cricket Association of Nepal. The International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended the CAN in 2016 citing political interference into it. Since then, all the decisions and initiatives taken on key issues such as selection of players, formulating plans and strategies of the national team have not been institutional, which is very unfortunate. This situation mustn’t prolong any longer.
We have had the best of the support from international cricket fraternity and domestic fans for Nepal’s cricket and cricket franchises. We should be able to build on this good will. Cricket, which was taken as a game played only in major cities, has spread even at the grassroots levels across the country—in the hills as well as the plains. While most of the things are in favor of Nepali cricket, the major problem lies in the absence of cricket government body. This favorable situation mayn’t remain for years. It is getting late to clear the mess in cricket sector by taking serious initiatives to revive the CAN, free the body from political interference and other interest groups.