Splendid Performance of Nepali Cricket Team

Registering seventeen wins in a row

Dr. Jiba Raj Pokharel
Read Time = 6 mins

Winning appears to be a habit for the Nepali Cricket Team now. First, the Under 19 team qualified for the World Cup. It was followed by yet another illustrious performance of Nepali national team that led to the World Cup qualifier. As if this was not enough, now it has made space for the Asia Cup that will be played in Pakistan in September along with the likes of India and Pakistan teams.

Cricket is known to have made a start in England during the Anglo Saxon and Norman period, contemporaries of Licchavis and Thakuri Kings in Nepal even though there are no hard evidences. In Nepal, wrestling was a popular sport in Nepal during this period as evidenced by the allocation of budget for wrestling center in an inscription of Lele installed during the reign of Licchavi rulers Shiva Dev and Amshu Verma in the year 604.

Cricket was certainly played in England by the year 1611 as evidenced by two persons being punished for playing it on Sunday instead of going to Church in Sussex England.

Cricket was certainly played in England by the year 1611 as evidenced by two persons being punished for playing it on Sunday instead of going to Church in Sussex England.   It percolated round the globe after Britain developed into a sun unsetting large empire. It was staged in all the British colonies with popularity in New Zealand, Australia, Bangla Desh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, West Indies and recently in Afghanistan that enjoy the highest national Test Playing status. The Cricket Test, the first international game was played between England and Australia in the year 1877 about the time that Junga Bahadur breathed his last in Nepal.

Cricket has undergone changes as all the objects do over time. But the most notable is the two stumped wicket.  The third stump was inserted in 1775, the year of demise of Prithvi Narayan Shaha, after the bowler Lumpy Stevens balled two successive balls to batter John Small making the ball go past in between the two stumps without touching any of the stumps.

A five-day Cricket test is for the connoisseurs of the game which on early days was played till the game was won even to six days. Its modern edition, day-long 50 over and ultramodern now 4 hours long 20 overs match for the commoners have given a respite to the cricket enthusiast from the five days' ordeal.  There are several other tournaments such as Asia Cup which is contested by the Asian countries. It is in this tournament that Nepal has qualified to play by registering win over United Arab Emirates(UAE).

This is really a splendid achievement in view of a comparatively shorter history of Nepali cricket.

This is really a splendid achievement in view of a comparatively shorter history of Nepali cricket. Being not a colony of Britain like neighboring India, cricket took a long time to make its presence in Nepal. Though initiated in Rana times by Madan Shamsher the son of Chandra Shamsher, it moved on a tortoise's speed to come to the present state. Nepal, an associate member of ICC holds now  50 over and 20 over match regularly in the country. It also has a woman team with a Twenty over International game status. The Under 19 is another team that has already qualified for the World Cup.

The Test playing nations such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangla Desh and Afghanistan are permanently qualified to play for Asia Cup. But other countries have to win the Group matches to proceed towards the tournament. Accordingly, ten countries had played in two Groups- Nepal, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Qatar in Group A and Singapore, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Hongkong, Bahrain in Group B. Whilst Nepal topped in Group A, UAE topped in Group B to play in the finals. Nepal at the end defeated UAE to be qualified for the tournament.

Nepal has made an incredible leap in cricketing history. It has remained now undefeated in 17 matches in a row.  This unusual feat perhaps deserves mention in Guinness World Record. It has all happened with a new Coach Monty Desai and new young captain Rohit Poudel. Monty's philosophy of maintaining a happy dressing room and taking one game at a time has really paid off when Cricket is considered a very uncertain game which can have incredible ups and downs. Nothing can be said till the last ball is bowled.

Cricket is a game which otherwise leading to sure shot victory suddenly ends up in defeat. One of the examples is the one day International played between India and Pakistan in UAE in the four nation 1985 Ruthman's Cup. The Immediate Past Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, then a fast bowler was in his prime and took six wickets for 14 runs bundling India for just 125 runs. But India bowled out Pakistan in just 87 runs winning the match.

One of the examples is the one day International played between India and Pakistan in UAE in the four nation 1985 Ruthman's Cup.

Nepal were under similar condition. They had bowled out UAE for 117 but lost quick wickets. At one time, they were reeling with 22 runs at the loss of 3 wickets. Monty, far sighted as he is, prevented the slide by sending Gulshan Jha who had secured win for Nepal virtually from the jaw of defeat for the selection in the qualifying World Cup match held last March. The 19 year old Jha not only stayed in the wicket but also accelerated the run scoring rate. Consequently, he was decorated with the man of the match award after earning victory for his country.

In fact, the victory was gained through a team effort. It was made possible by the majestic spell of Lalit Rajbanshi who took four wickets. He was assisted by the fast bowlers Sompal Kami and Karan KC who took three wickets between them like tigers hunting in pairs. They were further supplemented by Sandeep Lamichhane and Gulshan Jha taking 2 and 1 wickets each.

Unfortunately, there is a miniscule or no investment made by the country in this game of cricket despite the fact that it has generated tremendous interest among the Nepali people. It is highly financed by the International Cricket Committee at the present. More than 20000 spectators in the ground and an equal number in the outside, some even atop the tree holding Nepali flag reflects this living reality.

However, the infrastructure necessary for the game is virtually nil. The initiation made by Dhurmush-Suntali, the comedian couple celebrity for the construction of cricket ground in Chitwan could not make a headway due to the indifference of the Government. The construction of Cricket playing grounds against the backdrop of the panoramic views of Himalayas in other parts of Nepal could be a revenue earner for the country like Dharmashala ground in India. But it has yet to be felt by a callous Government. The Cricket Association of Nepal, the guardian of Nepali cricket, has thus a mammoth task ahead in the days to come.

The future course of Nepali Cricket however is not easy. The bowlers now have to bowl to the likes of Virat Kohli and Babar Azam when they play against India and Pakistan. Similarly, the batters have to face the shearing pace of Shaheen Shaha Afridi and Mohammed Siraj. It is like a fish jumping into the fire from the frying pan. But whether the Nepali team will be turned to ashes or comes flying like a legendary bird Phoenix from the ashes remains to be seen.

 

 

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