EDITORIAL: Boost cricket

In team sports, cricket is a strong candidate for grooming, whereas in solo games, martial arts could be a strong contender

Nepal recovered their ground on Monday by thrashing Kenya by seven wickets for their maiden victory over the African team after losing to them on Saturday’s encounter, keeping alive Nepal’s hopes of securing a berth in the 2019 ICC World Cup Qualifiers. In the last two rounds of the ongoing ICC World Cricket League Championship, Nepal will play against Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. The top four teams after seven rounds will qualify to play in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, while the bottom four will have to compete with  six other teams in the WCL Division-II tournament for the remaining two slots. Now the Netherlands lead the table with 16 points, with Papua New Guinea following in second position with 12 points. Hong Kong and Scotland have 11 points each. Nepal has eight points, two less than Kenya. In clinching Nepal’s victory, Sharad Vesawkar and Mahaboob Alam shone with the ball and the stand-in captain, Gyadendra Malla and Dipendra Singh Airee scored half-centuries in Nepal’s fourth victory in the tournament.

What should not be missed is that, despite being a relative later-comer into the arena of cricket and playing without a proper environment for the growth of cricket in terms of physical facilities and incentives, Nepali players have done reasonably well. The introduction of foreign coaches has also been a positive factor in this journey. Nepal does not yet have a good cricket stadium comparable to those in many other countries. These performances show much promise for the future. Given Nepal’s level of expertise and skill in sports, it should set priorities so that the chosen games could be promoted and players developed accordingly. Nepal cannot expect to do well in all sports in the international arena for the next quarter of a century.

In team sports, cricket is a strong candidate for grooming, whereas in solo games, martial arts could be a strong contender. But this does not mean that other sports and games should be neglected; they should be promoted too by all means. But with an eye to international laurels, a select few should be emphasized. Cricket is not played widely around the world as football is, and to come up in football at Asian and global levels is much harder than to do so in cricket. Players in Nepal, particularly professional ones and those who show high potential, should not be allowed to worry about how to make two ends meet. Indeed, over the years things have improved a bit but much more still needs to be done. Adequate physical and other professional facilities, including substantial financial support, should be provided. It is almost certain that players who give their full time to their respective sports are young and they have to sacrifice their studies, which means abandonment of a future career to be earned with their academic

degrees. They should be compensated for this. In Nepal’s sports, merit should always be encouraged and the best deserving players should be chosen for any competition or for opportunities like training. And politicization, which has marred many other areas of activity, should not be allowed to do so to cricket. But sadly that has not been the case so far. It has to change.

Drug campaign

The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division is going to administer mass drug campaign in 30 districts with a view to preventing Filaria on March 18, 19 and 20. The campaign will be launched in two phases. Filaria is a parasitic disease caused by an infection of roundworms of the Filariodea type. The parasitic disease is spread by blood-feeding black flies and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted from person to person through mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites a person who has filariasis, microscopic worms circulating in the person’s blood enter and infect the mosquito. People get lymphatic filariasis from the bite of an infected mosquito.

The World Health Organisation has targeted eradicating filaria by 2020. Nepal has also plans to meet the WHO target. The division officials said around 55,000 health volunteers and over 10,000 health personnel will be deployed to administer the anti-filaria drug to more than 10 million people in the 30 districts. A similar drive was also launched in 2003 in 61 districts with support from WHO. The division has said the disease has been rooted out in 31 districts.