It is always a perfect weather in cricket seasons in Kathmandu, clouds scattered around the sky and sunlight smiles down, drying up the morning dew in winters and water patches in uninvited & mistimed rainy days. I seat at a spitting distance from the boundary ropes when sun is under the clouds and run for shade when it opens to ruin my self-proclaimed (and some do say so) dashing face. It feels warm and sleepy for the lazy bones like me. Almost feels like an endless supply of tea or coffee is the only thing you ever want in your life. Even a boiled water mixed with sugar and a bit of milk, a local tea, is heavenly.
The match is exciting to watch from this close. The sounds I can hear of the ball coming off the bat are better than m**s. It is exciting, and the crowd, though small, is always responsive. When the bowler who has taken a wicket or a fielder who almost gave his life to stop the ball approaches boundary, everyone applauds, regardless of which side they are supporting. They even don’t mind loud-speaking his shirt number and praise him for his efforts and sometimes a proud-gayish-gesture. The crowd is minimal, most of parents alone and engineering students bored from walls of their room. This may not speak well for the future of cricket in Nepal, but it creates an intimate setting that makes me feel special, like I’m part of a secret club. And that club is none other than Nepali Cricket Fan Club.
Best seat in the house
This is now a integral part of my life, which I celebrate like my festive season, from last couple of years. It gives me a chance to get up-close with the inadequacies and shortcomings of the system which produces cricketers in Nepal. They do. From the biggest names to ones you probably will never really hear anywhere apart from my blogs.
It gives me umpteen pleasure to work with youngsters to hear the cricket they have in them to pursue a career in it. They come from backgrounds which you only get to hear in movies, circumstances that makes an Oscar winning scripts, and determinations that will be made to biopics.
I play a small role, to be honest, of managing them. Small because they are that disciplined & focused that all you need is to ask them to come on time for the match. They will make runs for NCFC, pick up wickets and of course do acrobats to catch’em all. They are like little robots who needs booting by a right operating system. That operating system is a former potbellied lecturer now a 30 KG mass murderer, also a writer of primary school books, media manager and my partner in all crimes, the coach Bhola Neupane.
Winners, NCFC U19, 2014
And I’m his hard drive. I am his confidence. I couldn’t have put this much straighter than saying that we almost telepathy our plans. We structure the squad with players that will win matches as much as possible simultaneously upgrade them for further senior teams given that they posses the talent and performance to belong to that level. From trials to scenarios during the matches, there is always a plan, sometimes back up too, the picture is almost very clear to what do next unless the thunder strikes the pitch and results in an apocalypse.
NCFC gives you the opportunity. Opportunity for the fans, of the fans & by the fans. All starts from the day of trials. 14 are selected on the basis of three major qualities: Passion, Performance and Potential. Preparations and discipline remains vital ingredient to complete you as a player, a product which can represent Nepal. And these are the most basic things you ought to have to regarded as a player who shall carry the onus of carrying the pride national players do.
Trails, 2014 U19 Selections
Now, the bandwagon of matches starts. The formality in the name of domestic cricket starts. It is on us how seriously or not, we take the matches, tournament to horn the skills and knowledge about the game from whatever available resources we have. The sorry picture which deserves a different article in itself. Nevertheless, it is a direct road to glory. A blue print to be in Nepal colors in matter of weeks. These are club games played to select the best 14 for District games. From District you get opportunity to represent respective Regions (Regional teams) and if you can do wonders there too, that’s your fate to be included in closed camps for the National team. Easy. All you have to do is keep playing every day from your first match to vary last match of the Regional games, that includes almost 10 to 12 matches in the span of 3 to 4 weeks. Herculean task? Well, it is the same system our current national players went through.
A slight advantage for guys in Kathmandu are, the District teams are selected on the basis of Club games, which is supposed to be played in every region, in theory atleast. The club tournament conducted by KDCA includes local registered clubs, cricket academies & training centers and professional cricket clubs.
NCFC U19 Team, 2014
In the last kind act of god, NCFC was established in 2012 by bunch of passionate fans (lead by Birat Raya and Sanjib Khadka) who made it through the system to qualify as a club to play in these tournament and hence has participated in 4 of them. Reaching two finals, one semi final and winning the last one (U19 and Senior combined). In two U19 tournaments coached by Bhola Neupane, NCFC made it two finals in two years, lost one, won one, and has already given the hot property Sompal Kami to the nation with handful of Regional players like, Arjun Adhikari, Bishalbabu Adhikari, Puran Thapa, etc to go with.
So, if you feel to have a player in you who will go on to represent Nepal, this is your road map to glory with more than able and probably under the best talent management group in the country that is NCFC. But if you think this is your chance to play some cricket out of your busy schedule to spice up your life not going so exciting, I, as a manager of NCFC, will like to request to stay away from being a blockage to even a 14 year old who dreams to be a Nepal player someday in his life, and that life surely has more than a 28 or 30 year old chap who is already settled in work, business they do for living. But then, it is all about passion. Age doesn’t matters, if you have that passion, self-belief, confidence, to do it and pursue your career for Nepal the doors of NCFC are always open.
The player management is an important ingredient for a successful team
Playing for NCFC is not a fun thing to do once a year. It takes dedication of years like Bishalbabu does; a journey of across the borders like Bablu Yadav, Puran Thapa did; dreams that has no other option but to play cricket like Arjun Adhikari aims; players who breathe cricket for living like Prashant Shrestha, Rohan Sharma; players who will come from even outside the valley in the morning of match even if that is 4 am in the morning in the chilly cold season like Sandip Sapkota do; playing together for NCFC and giving a shot to the ultimate glory is only aim of their life. They quit there alternate careers be it a professional dancer or a job in Bank, numerous days of schools/colleges, all they see is Cricket in their life. To be a professional cricket player of Nepal. NCFC does its best to make it worth. Every single effort count.
A moment of happiness
This is your chance, the easiest cum toughest, your opportunity to reach at the summit. There is no rocket science though. Come and perform. Your time starts now. Don’t wait to decide, just take it if cricket is the ultimate passion that fuels you. NCFC is just what you want. It is a team you dream for. And when a gifted team dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort, it is ready to climb.
”The inches we need, are everywhere, all around us. Its the guy who is willing to die for that extra inch who is going to win”