KATHMANDU, Oct 2: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has welcomed the recently concluded elections to elect new leadership of the suspended Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and described the latest progress as ‘momentous development’.
“ICC is delighted with the momentous development in Nepali cricket, which is the culmination of the ICC-led governance reform process over the last three years and has resulted in a united cricket fraternity in Nepal,” the international cricket governing body in its statement issued on Tuesday quoted ICC Deputy Chair Imran Khawja as saying. Khawja has been leading the ICC’s ongoing efforts to reinstate the CAN.
The CAN, which was suspended by the ICC in April 2016 citing Nepal’s national cricketing body of breaching ICC regulations which prohibit government interference and require free and fair elections, elected a new leadership under Chatur Bahadur Chand in an election earlier this week. The election process was overseen by the Independent Panel formed under the provisions of CAN statute.
Khawja congratulated all the cricket stakeholders of Nepal including the fans, players, administrators, as well as the government of Nepal and the National Sports Council (NSC) for conducting elections that it termed as ‘historic milestone’.
“I am particularly thankful to the Nepal Advisory Group who formulated the current CAN constitution, and the Independent Panel who have overseen the election process at district, provincial and central levels,” he added.
With the conclusion of elections as advised by the Independent Panel, the suspended CAN is awaiting a final call from the ICC, which is expected to lift the suspension during its board meeting scheduled for October 12-13.
The CAN is also hopeful the ICC will lift ban on CAN membership.
“I am confident that the suspension will be lifted. The CAN has got new leadership through the election which was conducted in a free and fair manner under the ICC supervision. We have fulfilled all the conditions for the reinstatement of the CAN,” said the newly elected CAN President Chand.
Khawja also hinted at the lifting of suspension in the upcoming ICC board meeting.
“With a newly elected Central Working Committee in place, I am optimistic that Nepal will replicate this progress off-the-field too. A major prerequisite for the reinstatement of Nepal’s ICC membership has now been achieved and we will consider the next steps during the ICC Board meeting in Dubai next month,” he said.
Nepal cricket had reached new heights over the last three years, with men’s team obtaining ODI status and registering its maiden ODI victory and the women’s and youth teams performing well in ICC Qualifiers.
“This progress vindicates the ICC board’s decision to allow Nepalese national teams to continue playing even while they remain suspended as a member,” Khawja added.
The Independent Panel comprised of three ICC nominated representatives- Ammar Shaikh, Muhammad Ali and Niteesha Kothari and two representatives- Lekh Bahadur Chhetri and Thakur PratapThapa nominated by the NSC and the CAN central working committee respectively.