More ICC funds will be designated for cricket and its development in Nepal. Better yet, we are now a recognized member of the International Cricket Council, which in extension means our dreams of watching our team play international cricket will now come to fruition. That should quench our thirst for more live matches on international channels and add on to the tally of mere three international matches we played during the T20 World Cup earlier this year.
This also means our players will now have chances to be compared to and mentioned alongside the greats of the game, past and present. Basant Regmi leading the bowling charts for his economy, Sharad Vesawkar leading the batting charts for his average and other similar feats are real possibilities now – a dream, a milestone in the 17-year old cricketing history of Nepal.
Similarly, fans from other test nations and international communities will now search for Nepal in Google or Espncricinfo to know us better, learn about our achievements and realize how rich and proud our cricketing history has been so far, especially when records such as Mehboob Alam’s 10 wicket haul, Myanmar’s 10 wicket thrashing by Nepal, Binod Das’ heroics in Intercontinental Cup, pop up on their computer screens.
Also, there is every chance of Nepal hosting touring teams such as Bangladesh or India or any other country if we are able to meet the standard of international stadiums and grounds as outlined by the ICC. And we could see our players featuring in the Bangladesh Premier League or the Indian Premier League or the lesser-known Caribbean Premier League very soon. A legacy has started, history now awaits. A T20 status is a good thing, best that has happened to Nepal cricket so far. Our name has been placed on the ICC rankings table and all we need now is a strong, proactive and a decisive cricket governing body to build on the platform that has been provided if our dreams are to take a flight. And this is where we focus on to the “Bad” part.
There are no standard stadiums in Nepal, not even a proper ground to play cricket in – a concern that tops the list of many other underlying issues with Nepal cricket ever since it started getting some serious recognition in the international scene. Lack of proper management, improper training facilities and corrupt politics within members of the Cricket Association of Nepal, CAN and still we achieved the status – all the credit, all of it, goes to the successful core led by the dedication of the sumptuous coach and selfless, hard-working players.
However, world’s most corrupted Cricket Association (if you compare the corrupted amount that has been disclosed recently to how much Nepal Cricket and cricketers earn in a year) has dampened the soaring spirits of growing cricket lovers and ruined what would have otherwise been a joyous celebration. Complains apart, CAN – shamelessly and disgracefully – has still shown no real interest in extending the recently expired contract of the figure regarded as Godfather of Nepal cricket, the Sri Lankan Pubudu Dassanayake. By miles the most successful coach in the history of Nepal sports, Dassanayake being regarded as the ‘Father Figure’ by current crop of Nepal players speaks volumes about his character, his vision and his need for this budding sport. The Asian Games and the World Cricket Division 3 are on the door steps and no other individual knows our cricket better than Pubudu, no second guessing on that. The current situation is not ideal for a new coach to take over the reins of Nepal cricket and if there is anyone who can help Nepali Cricket to grow, to reach beyond our current achievements and to meet the impossible, that individual is Pubudu Dassanayake, who has been eagerly waiting for an extension from the Association/Board so he can continue nurturing the team he loves like his own family. And that should be the main focus now.
With all that said, the T20 status probably isn’t just not as convincing as it appears to be on face value apart from an improved definite funding and place in cricket’s map.
The most important aspect that has been subsided by current conundrum regarding the internal affairs of CAN is the quality of cricket. Who is currently thinking about that except the cricketers and coach? We haven’t played anything in last month or so and there hasn’t even been a practice session. Yes the rainy season is upon us but what about the concerns of last year when Indoor facilities were promised to be upgraded, essentially for times like these. It’s a shame to mention that a T20 playing nation doesn’t have one proper indoor facility to work on.
Things like postponement of the proposed and the most competitive T20 tournament in Nepal with no apparent dates secured will only affect our cricket negatively and could be the decider on whether Nepal can stay up in the order or see a downfall experienced by the likes Kenya and Canada. Cricket needs to be addressed.
What good is the status without any matches to play in? It’s a different matter that the Nepal cricket board needs to approach other boards for the matches and tours but ICC could have announced a few fixtures or a tournament including the newly promoted associate teams like Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, etc. A head start should have been provided by the caretakers of cricket but instead, ICC was busy planning for the ‘Ten Teams’ to sign all the bilateral agreements through to 2023. That’s nine years from now and could mean that Nepal or any other associate nation in that regard will not get any bilateral series in that period. And of course it is just T20 we are talking about.
As for the boundaries made by ICC for the associate teams, the new teams will only get worse and the full members will only get benefits. Example: Bangladesh keeps losing its matches against other full members irrespective of numbers and margins of their loss, they are still provided with bilateral series but if a Division 2 teams loses a string of matches in same period, it gets relegated to Division 3 and 4 and so on. So, what is fair here? Recently, Bangladesh lost to a ‘India A’ (as called by Bangladeshi Captain) team and it now prepares for another series but Oman has been relegated to Division 5 as a result of their losses in Division 4. Oman is the same team that only months ago defeated Nepal in ACC Premier League and was pretty impressive in the tournament. It’s a 4-year cycle for Oman now to get back to its prior position but Bangladesh won’t have to wait even 4 weeks to start making headlines again
Nepal or Netherlands are not eligible to play ODI because they failed to acquire it in a month long tournament played in New Zealand. But a full member sub-continent team can keep losing 4-0s in Test series in Australia and England still consider themselves competitive enough. Same goes with overseas team touring sub-continent, be it Australia who lost 4-0 in India. And we all know how strong cricket teams are in their favourable conditions. Last evidence: Nepal’s inspiring performance in WT20 after a debacle in New Zealand which eventually led them to the T20 status. What if ODI qualifiers were played in similar pitches. No wonder, Nepal finished just second to Afghanistan in recently concluded ACC Premier League. This “status” concept is just a hoax. Why not organize a transparent regional qualification for world events around Asia, Africa, Europe, Pacific, Americas, and let the sport take care of itself. That sounds like a much better plan than to confine nations with a “status,” which is nothing but an impermeable boundary for Associate nations.