EDITORIAL: Great promise

Results can become visible relatively easily and more quickly in cricket if it is given high priority and everything needed for its development

A cricket tournament involving six city-based teams concluded at TU Cricket Stadium in Kirtipur on Saturday. Biratnagar Warriors clinched the first prize, a cheque of Rs.2.1 million, by defeating Bhairahawa Gladiators by just one run to win the title of the TVS Everest Premier League. The runners-up also received Rs.800,000. But the inaugural edition of the tournament, known as the TVS EPL T20 Cricket Tournament, will be memorable for several reasons. First it also had the participation of some foreign cricketers, which further increased the public interest in the tournament in a country in which cricket is already popular. Indeed, Nepal’s standard in cricket has gone up in recent years, as the country has made its presence felt in some of the international tournaments in which it has on the whole shown creditable performances. The outpouring of public interest was reflected in the jampacked stadium with a 15,000-strong cheering crowd. The close contest between the two finalists was a really nail-biting spectacle with the participation of Nepali cricketing heavyweights in which the game could have gone either way.

Cricket has a huge fan following in the country and shows great promise in the days ahead. Playing with overseas players is also expected to have benefited Nepali players as they had an opportunity to learn something. The tournament being a franchise-based one generated more interest than would have been possible otherwise, and this fact can only help to make the already popular sport more popular in the country. Top Nepali cricket players like Paras Khadka have said that the tournament has helped to raise the standard of Nepali cricket. Such events need to be organized in various parts of the country more frequently. Indeed, this kind of tournament had not been organized before by the Cricket Association of Nepal or any other private organization.

The tournament had big sponsors and it was well-managed and looked like an international tournament. This also brings to fore the importance of cricket sponsors in Nepal. But to spread the game throughout the country, cricket tournaments should be organized not just in a city drawing together just half a dozen city-based teams. The league, to be truly meaningful from the long-term perspective of developing the game and scouting for cricketing talent at a young age, should be much broader in scope. It should have participation from all provinces and districts and such leagues and other tournaments should be regular affairs and much more frequent than they are today. Of the team sports, cricket is arguably the sport holding the greatest promise of development and recognition in the world for Nepal, unlike, for example, in football which is played in almost all of the 200-plus countries and the bar is very high for Nepal to reach in quality of the game and performance. But that does not mean in any way that footfall and other sports should get less priority. But results can become visible relatively easily and more quickly in cricket if it is given high priority and everything needed for its development is made adequately available.

School management

The Ministry of Education has asked all district education offices to delegate their power to the local levels as per the Local Level Governance Act 2017. The Act has stated that the local levels will have to manage and regulate the educational institutions on their own from the next academic session.

Six months have passed since the local level elections were held. But the local levels have been facing difficulties in handling the educational institutions due to non-transfer of power from the district education offices. The Act has given the local governments the right to manage education system up to grade XII.

The local level can also formulate policies about the schools run by the community, cooperatives, Guthis, traditional Gurukul, Gumbas and Madrasa. They are also authorized to handle issues of management of schools, imparting education in native languages, providing salaries to teachers, awarding scholarships and managing budget. It is expected that the public schools will function better once their management is taken care of by the elected officials and the teachers will also be accountable to the parents, students and the elected officials.