Global Cricket

Cricket in Nepal

More than a year ago I began writing a feature about cricket in Nepal. Midway through the process I began to have doubts that an outsider like myself could do justice to such a vibrant and exciting scene despite the best efforts of CAN board member Pawan Agrawal, who was kind enough to answer my questions in great detail. Now I have had a change of heart. This is a mini-profile about cricket in Nepal.

Nepalese cricket fans have suffered more than their fair share of heartaches over the last three years. On so many occasions the national side has been in a position to win it’s way into the World Cricket League Division one, only to be thwarted at a crucial stage. Perhaps the one loss that stands out was back in 2005 during the WCQ Division 2 in Kuala Lumpur when Nepal were bowled out for 140 chasing 143 against underdogs Fiji. A win against the Fijians would have put Nepal into the final against PNG, just one win from a place in the ICC Trophy.

Still, cricket fans in Nepal have reason to be optimistic in the future. The sport has tremendous grass roots support throughout the country. Matches involving the home team can draw massive crowds and there are a number of outstanding young players making their way through the system and showing great promise at international level. Perhaps, as these young players gain more experience, they will find a way to win the crucial games.

Cricket’s Emergence

Cricket has been played in Nepal for over 70 years but the first true wave of popularity swept the nation after the 1996 World Cup when matches were shown on television to a mass audience for the first time. Without doubt television has played a major role in the growth of the game since then. Not all associate and affiliate nations have such a luxury. As more and more youngsters have taken up the game, so too have Nepal’s performances improved, particularly at under-19 level where the national side competes eye to eye with the full members.

Domestic Cricket

Nepal domestic cricket is dominated by two national competitions. The newly named Springwood One-Day National Cricket Tournament is a 50 over competition while a longer version of the game is played over two days very much like club cricket in Australia. For both tournaments the country is divided into six regions.

Region 1: Biratnagar

Region 2: Birgunj

Region 3: Kathmandu

Region 4: Bhairahawa

Region 5: Nepalgunj

Region 6: Battadi

Bhairahawa, a side featuring such notables as Shatki Gauchan, Amrit Bhattarai and Basant Regmi, are the current national one-day champions.

Grounds

There are currently 67 cricket grounds in Nepal of which 16 have turf pitches. The Tribhuvan University Ground is considered to be the number cricket playing facility in Nepal. At some stage a decision will be made whether to upgrade this venue with better stands and seating, lights and changerooms or to build a brand new facility.

Junior Development

Nepal has a well established junior and schools set-up with under-13/15’s/17’s and 19’s tournaments as well as a very large scholastic program. Strangely there is no Kwik or Kanga cricket program in the country.

The Shangrila Academy is a relatively new facility owned and operated by Aamir Akhtar and Birendra Shah. The academy has a ground with flood lights, turf and cement practice pitches, video analysis and equipment shop.

Kanishka Chaugai

Nepali cricket fans were deeply upset when star batsman Kanishka Chaugai left the country to study in the USA in 2006. Not only was the loss of arguably their best player a concern but it also had fans worried that others may follow in his footsteps. I spoke to Pawan Agrawal about this situation in 2006 and he was good enough to give a detailed response.

“Well, this is matter of great concern for us! Being honest not much can be done immediately to stop high turnover of the players in the country and players like Kanishka leaving the country. Unless and until we make cricket as career option for the players there will be quick turnover of players. However, having said that we do have medium-term and long term plan to deal with this situation. Our medium term plan is to increase the number of players in each playing group so that the team is not much affected due to non availability of key player because of some reason or other. Our long-term plan is to make cricket as career option through providing them jobs/contract so that they don’t have think of other career to survive. We would be very happy if Kanishka can make himself available for Nepalese cricket. We are ready to provide him with every support if he can make himself available for Nepal.”

Recent Performances

ICC WCQS Division 2 2005, Kuala Lumpur : Third

ACC Trophy 2006, Kuala Lumpur : Fourth

ACC 20/20 Cup 2007, Kuwait City : Equal Seventh

Key Players

1. Binod Das (24) (RAMF/RHB)

2. Shatki Gauchan (23) (RHB/RALB)

3. Mehboob Alam (26) (LAMF/LHB)

4. Gyanendra Malla (17) (RHB)

5. Paras Khadka (20) (RAMF/RHB)

6. Sarad Vesawkar (19) (RHB)

Statistics

TBA when new figures are released shortly.

For more information visit the Nepal Cricket Fan Club which is a passionate site run by supporters of Nepal cricket.

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January 21, 2008 - Posted by | Nepal | ,

9 Comments »

  1. Nice to see yet another blog dedicated for cricket in associate nation. Ben, I hope you will continue for long.

    Comment by Ujjwal | January 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. Nepal has more craze for cricket even more than in some test playing nations. The craze for cricket in nepal is increasing day by day. But nepal is always unlucky. It was about to play some major events but ICC and others have hampered in many time. In the last Asia cup nepal was supposed to play instead of Hong Kong. That happens always.

    Comment by sudip | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  3. I have a feeling things will start to look up for Nepal shortly.

    It tends to happen that way. For a while, a team is thwarted by bad luck and some bad performances at just the wrong time.

    Then quite suddenly, after years of trying, the flood gates open and success comes around more often.

    I think sometimes people expect too much from Nepal. In truth, most of the players are aged 23 or under. A cricketers best days are between the ages of 27 and 35. When Nepal has a core of senior players around 26 or above, I’m sure the performances will be consistently good.

    Comment by benstinga | February 15, 2008 | Reply

  4. i am also a cricketer of 13 i want to play cricket for nepal i can make nepali teams like other team please select me. i have dream to play for nepal . i am good alrounder. when i play every one praise me. i play in teaching hospital .

    Comment by bigyan rayamajhi | March 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. Hi! Nepali cricket player please work hard and qualify for world cup, We have been tired to see Indian players and other country players, We are hungrily waiting to welcome our Nepali team in world cup. And please make shock to world and get world cup in Nepal.

    Thanks
    Bodh Raj Lamsal

    Comment by Bodh Raj Lamsal | May 25, 2008 | Reply

  6. Although nepal possess good cricketer, due to corruption in CAN many players are leaving the country. If you want to develop cricket in Nepal then one should correct the problem inside CAN. As the money provided to CAN for development of Cricket is generally being wasted by the hands of CAN members…

    Comment by kastomaja | July 5, 2008 | Reply

  7. I have long been a fan of the Nepal Cricket Team and watched them progress from the early days of the first ACC Tropy in Kuala Lumpur in 1996. I might have personally done well when playing for Hong Kong against them, but at the same time I have a lot of respect for each players ability. They have done extremely well under Roy Dias as their coach. FYI I was previliged enough to see Roy’s first test against India where he got a hunderd on debut. Since then I am a big fan of his. I have now seen Nepal stumble time and again at the crucial stage in various important tournaments and I attribute this to only one thing….batsmenship. Their top order batsmen MUST take the fight to the opposition. Presently they play in one mode, defensive, and look to nudge the ball around. They do not have a batsman in their top four who can bat 50 overs and hold one end up. I do not see many of their top order batsmen get hundreds against good opposition. Getting hundreds is a habbit and top order batsmen must get into it very early in their careers. Every team has atleast one player who can bat the overs, is the pivotal batsman, and others then bat around him. Sharad/Paras/Kanishka/Gyanendra/Shakti are all good players without being brilliant. One of them needs to put his hand up and learn to bat the overs, others need to learn to shift gears as and when needed. Batsmen must take charge in do-or-die games like the semifinals and finals. Nepal has beaten Hong Kong twice in the last two ACC’s but Hong Kong has managed to reach the finals both times, and win it this time around..why? Hong Kong has match winners who on their own can wrestle games away from the opposition. You cannot create match winners…this is natural talent coming to the fore coupled with massive amounts of mental horsepower. We have all heard the saying “when the going gets tough..the tough get going” and I truly believe that Nepalese batsmen need to toughen up. You need brilliance and self confidence coupled with good techical ability and good mental strength to play match winning innings, and you need at least one player in this mould. Hong Kong won the ACC Trophy this time around and it was Najeeb Amar’s brilliant innings in the final that took the game away from UAE. Nepal has to find their own Najeeb Amar, and that too soon, to break into the top two/three at the ACC level to get a chance to play in the Asia Cup. I truly believe that Nepal with the bowling and fielding ability that they presently have coupled to the possible batting depth that they can very well create, can go a long way in Asian cricket. I wish Binod and his team all the best in future tournaments.

    Rahul Sharma, Hong Kong

    Comment by Rahul Sharma | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  8. I think the batsmen will improve with experience. Most batsmen really hit their peak after 25-26 years of age.

    Comment by benstinga | August 10, 2008 | Reply

  9. In few years I see nepal playing test cricket. We’ve got the potential, we’ve got the talent. Some more effort is needed from government side

    Comment by Nepal cricket blog | October 10, 2009 | Reply


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