Nepali Cricket’s Crashing Dreams
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on बिहिवार, अगस्ट 7, 2008
Ujjwal Acharya, The Kathmandu Post, August 7
Every time Nepali national cricket team leaves the country, it instills high hopes in all Nepalis. There are always opportunities and there is always somewhere up to go; and normally a step ahead means dreams coming true. But, unfortunately, the dream always crash down with a defeat in the crucial match after a series of impressive wins. This has been a story of Nepali cricket for the last six years.
Nepal has lost four semifinals in the last four years and every defeat has deprived Nepal of an opportunity to go higher in the world cricket. In 2005, Fiji defeated Nepal in the semifinal of the World Cup Qualifying Series Division II that ended Nepal’s hopes of playing in the main World Cup qualifiers.
Then it was the 2006 ACC Trophy semifinal loss against the UAE that deprived Nepal of playing the heavyweights of Asia – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in the one-day international event called Asia Cup. And this year, Nepal lost to Afghanistan in the semifinal of the World Cricket League Division 5 in Jersey failing to get promoted for Division 4. Of late, it is the semifinal loss against the UAE in the semifinal of the ACC Trophy Elite that once again ended the hopes of playing in Asia Cup.
With that history, Nepal has been nicknamed chokers. In Nepal, people either believe we are unlucky or they say we have already got more success than we deserve so there should be no hope for more. The cliché is as it came to limelight, there will be politics.
Of course, there are numerous problems to step further than this in cricket. We lack many things, including the infrastructure and events. ‘What after cricket’ is a big issue with professionalism being a distant star. But the biggest of all shortcomings, it seems at this phase, is the vision to develop cricket among the cricket administrators.
Since the late 90s, when Nepal performed well in international events after getting associate membership of International Cricket Council (ICC), the world cup qualification has been a buzzword, even an aim. The aim is stranded; for sure it will not be fulfilled for 2011 edition, and the administrators are already expressing hopes for 2015.
But there are just hopes and dreams. Other than dreaming and hoping that the players, with their largely raw talents, will somehow perform magically to do that. There is neither plan nor any worked-out vision on how we are going to help the players achieve that.
For the association that struggles even to release the annual calendar of events, a detailed worked-out plan for five or ten years is surely an uphill task, especially when there are no professional people to do it.
Despite being the oldest sports association of the country, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) is an unprofessionally-run body where the executive members are not only expected to work out plans and policies but also to take responsibility of managing lunch sets of players during events. CAN lacks professional officeholders, and it’s a sad aspect hindering the development of the game at the time when the sports is asking for professional approach and other nations quickly beginning to progress.
There has never been any election in CAN and the committees are always formed by the National Sports Council (NSC) – the government body that controls sports. For ad-hoc committees, the primary focus is more on making the NSC happy than anything else. Whenever a new committee is formed, they promise election at the earliest possible date, as the current committee did, and then they forget it.
And, the new committee always has to begin from scratch because there is neither paperwork of plans or policies, if any, nor any CAN staff know what the previous president and the general secretary were doing. Since 1998, when I began reporting cricket, CAN has been an association with the theme of ‘doing it as it comes’ rather than ‘planning it before it comes.’
Roy Dias – the Sri Lankan coach for the last eight years – also lacks plans for cricket development. Despite questions being raised about him lately, he has been inspirational, especially with age-group teams. When he is saying that he has no intention to extend his stay longer, we have suddenly realized that we should have prepared a Nepali coach under him who could have undertaken the caretaking jobs.
We could have given him one or two regular assistant coaches and, at times when we felt our team could have done better without Dias, we would have an opportunity to try Nepali coach. At least, in that way, we would have by now a coach well equipped to take charge of a team.
On the part of players, they have failed in crunch time and they need to realize that. It’s easy to blame that there has been nothing to gain by playing cricket; or that they have not been well paid but they can press more when you move ahead. And, the very simple yet harsh answer from CAN to those players should be that either they play or leave.
The biggest disadvantage of Nepali cricket at this time is it lacks the players’ base. Because of lack of plans and policies in the past, we continued playing the same 25-30 players in all international cricket, even age-groups, and never thought of shuffling players. Our national team is always the same – be it very important event or fun event. And now, there are just these players fit enough for national team.
I know it’s easy to point finger at others or show the problems but not easy to find solutions. But, at least for now, there is a very easy solution to get better in cricket and that is working out a detailed plan, something that they teach you the first thing to do after you set your aim.