National Sports Council (NSC) Member Secretary Keshav Kumar Bista (center), Advisory Group Coordinator Binaya Raj Pandey (right) and elected Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) General Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel during a joint press conference in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Photo: Bijay Gajmer/Republica
KATHMANDU, Jan 31: Nepali cricket bodies on Tuesday said that they will be steadfastly implementing the agreement reached with the representatives of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Organizing a joint press meet in the capital, member secretary of the National Sports Council (NSC) Keshav Kumar Bista, former president of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and coordinator of the advisory group Binaya Raj Pandey, general secretary of the elected CAN--which is facing a ban from the ICC--and member of the advisory group Ashok Nath Pyakurel, expressed their commitment to execute the agreements reached with the representatives of the ICC on Jan 28-29.
The ICC team led by its deputy chairman Imran Khawaja had held separate and joint discussions with all the concerned parties of the advisory group, formed in a bid to find out a lasting solution on the long-running dispute of Nepali cricket.
The team had met member secretary Bista on Monday after holding discussions with coordinator Pandey and members Pawan Agrawal, Chatur Bahadur Chand, Pyakurel, and Rohit Dahal a day earlier.
During the separate discussions, all the bodies involved had approved the demand of the elected CAN to remove from its statute education and age bar for contestants to compete for the post of president, general secretary and treasurer.
But the concerned bodies, in consensus, had rejected a proposal to let the 17 elected officials of the current committee and seven representatives from the NSC-- who do not have voting rights but can run for election--participate in the general assembly.
According to the agreement, legal experts will update the statute, which the elected CAN will endorse through a general meeting without making any changes. Likewise, they also reached an understanding to form a 5-member supervisor committee including three members from the ICC and one each from the NSC and elected committee under the leadership of ICC, who will guide the CAN to the election process.
The meeting between Bista and the ICC representative also reached a conclusion on the issue regarding district-level election conducted by the elected CAN--which an earlier meeting on Sunday had failed to decide. As per the agreement, the monitoring committee, after studying the issues regarding election, would re-conduct election in the districts, where the elections were held without fulfilling the process or were disputed. On the contrary, the committee will give validation to the elections where there have been no disputes. After the endorsement of the statute, the ICC will fix a timeline and subsequent works will be done accordingly, informed the officials in the press meet.
“The NSC, in the past, had tried to uplift the Nepali cricket with good intentions. But it was termed as interference. All the concerned authorities are knowingly and unknowingly accountable for the current ban on Nepali cricketing body, it’s only a matter of more or less,” said Bista adding, “But now, the NSC and all concerned bodies have learned lessons. We called the ICC team after reaching a conclusion that we have no option but to move forward correcting our errors.”
The ICC, citing government interference and failing to conduct free and fair elections, had suspended the membership of CAN in April 2016 following the NSC’s move to form an ad-hoc committee.
“All the involved parties and the ICC have reached a deal. If we work honestly respecting the agreements, we can expect a lift on the ban on Nepali cricket very soon,” he added.
“The NSC, as a guardian, will not remain a mute spectator if anybody is found posing obstacles toward resolving the problems of Nepali cricket.”
“The ICC may make more stern decisions. The NSC will also present itself strongly to save the Nepali cricket,” Bista added.
Advisory committee coordinator Pandey was also hopeful that the ICC would lift ban on CAN before the ICC General Assembly in June.
“We as facilitator can show a path for the concerned bodies in the efforts made by the ICC. If they follow our path, a long-term solution can be reached,” he said. “We should not look for a temporary way out. One, two or three year’s time is not a long period for an organization. Therefore, we must pay attention to developing a system while looking for a long-term solution.”
“We must look for provisions such as decentralization of power to district levels rather than keeping it at the center. We have to revise the statute so that good people can come to cricket from district levels. Otherwise, disorders we are facing now will remain and come back again after some years,” Pandey added.
CAN general secretary Pyakurel said that they were willing to become flexible and reconsider their past reservations, with a hope of uplifting the ban. “Our primary concern at present is lifting off the ban in Nepali cricket and removing the vacuum of cricket leadership. We are ready to come to a fresh start if the ban will be lifted off.”
“We are committed to implement the agreements,” he added.
He also said that the case filed against the NSC will not be an obstacle in implementing the agreement. ”If there is a consensus, we are willing to withdraw the case,” Pyakurel asserted.