By Sushil Thapa
Against all odds, Nepal clinched the crucial two match series at the expense of Namibia in the World Cricket League Championship played in Kathmandu recently.
After being whitewashed in the last two series by Papua New Guinea and Scotland respectively in 2015, Nepal needed a big performance to bounce back, which they did.
I congratulate the team and the coaching staff on their important success. The triumph brought some much-needed relief to supportive home fans.
More important, the win boosted Nepal’s standings in the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC).
With the latest home series sweep Nepal vaulted up the rankings, from 8th to 5th position in the eight-team league championship.
The team’s success was the result of concerted effort and individual brilliance. Going into the series, the task was challenging and a must win situation for the host to keep their faint hopes alive, especially to advance to the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers and the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Nepal was under tremendous pressure to get their act together, rise to the occasion and produce desired results. The big question on everyone’s mind was: could they pull it off?
I had my own doubts. The team was under prepared for the series and had to cope with uncertainty caused by the infighting between the two rival governing CAN.
Besides, my major concern was the batting woes, adversely affecting the team’s overall performance. Their success, I believed, largely hinged on their batting form.
Defying all odds, they wrapped up the series quite convincingly much to my surprise. In fact, they put their hearts and souls into the matches to ensure success.. In other words, key to their success was overcoming batting frailties.
Although it was mostly an incredible collective effort, a handful of individual brilliance made a world of difference that helped Nepal clinch the series at the end.
The man in form with the bat was Sharad Vesawkar. Batting diligently and consistently, he chipped in 50 & 74 runs in the first and second match respectively. To me he was man of the series,
Skipper Paras Khadka’s solid all round performance should silence the doubting Thomases .He still has a lot of cricket left in him. His swashbuckling 103 runs off 94 balls in the second match came in very handy for Nepal to seal the series.
Despite the success, I still think there is chink in Nepal’s batting, over all. The batting department needs to improve significantly for future competitions.
The bowlers put in a spirited performance and did their part commendably. Spotlight was on highly talented teenager Sandeep Lamichhane who made his debut with the national team.
The right-arm leg -break sensational lived up to his expectations by taking a bagful of wickets. Without a doubt, we will be hearing a lot about him in the coming days.
Experienced slow left-arm orthodox spin maestro Basanta Regmi with five wickets was pick of the bowlers.
On the whole, it was a well-deserved win for Team Nepal. The result, once again proves that there is no dearth of cricket talent in the country.
There is not one iota of doubt in my mind that our cricketers are capable of attaining to a far higher degree of success.
Sadly, the highly politicized, corrupt and irresponsible so -called sport institutions like National Sports Council, Sports Ministry and CAN are preventing cricketers from furthering their cricket career..
CAN has been governed by corrupt and incompetent bureaucrats for the most part. They have totally failed to bring about any development, and nor have they allowed others.
When they should have been only concerned with advancing Nepali cricket best interests, they are more focused on promoting and securing their vested interests, sadly.
What these shameless people have done to ruin Nepali cricket has been well documented, time and time again. The biggest irony is that the government does not give a damn about it.
The suspension of CAN by ICC for the breach of Article 2.9 of the ICC’s Articles of Association, which prohibits government interference and requires free and fair elections, does not surprise me. I was looking forward to it and had to come sooner or later.
ICC’s move is appropriate and laudable. More important, the decision not to ban Nepal from international competitions is a huge relief for all.
As a matter of fact, the world cricket governing should have acted much earlier. What is next for Nepali cricket? Let us keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.