EDITORIAL: One Day indeed

A win in debut One Day International would have certainly been an icing on the cake, but still Nepali cricket on Wednesday made history in the Netherlands

August 1, 2018. This is the date many Nepalis will never forget. On this day Nepali cricket made history. On this day Nepal played their first One Day International (ODI). It has really been a long road for Nepali cricket. And Nepalis were eagerly waiting for this day – for their team to make a foray into the ODI at the VRA Ground in Amstelveen in the Netherlands. The Netherlands too were playing their first ODI in four years. After displaying a good bowling, Nepal managed to restrict the Netherlands to 189 in 47.4 overs, but they sadly squandered a promising start to face a 55-run defeat. Nepal were all out for 134 runs in 41.5 overs. Nonetheless, there are so many positives Nepal can take from here. Paras Khadka’s boys will be taking on Pieter Seelaar’s orange team today again in their second and final match, which will be equally important for both the teams making history of their own.

Despite growing love and support for the sport, Nepali cricket has been on a sticky wicket for quite some time. As in many other sectors, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), the country’s cricket governing body, has been mired in dirty politics. CAN has remained suspended by the International Cricket Council, the world cricket governing body, since April 2016. Despite all odds, Nepali cricketers never lost hopes. Nepal earned the ODI status in March this year after they finished in the top three among the associate nations, along with Scotland and the UAE in the Cricket World Cup (WC) Qualifier 2018 in Zimbabwe. This was no mean feat when there was no CAN and the authorities were doing precious little for Nepali cricket. Nepali cricketers indeed have toiled really hard to arrive where they are today. Their passion for the game has ultimately paid off, much to the delight of their countrymen.

If it’s not an exaggeration, Nepali cricket has risen from the ashes. It was a major setback when Nepal were relegated from the WCL Championship in December last year. But they came back from the behind to seal mesmerising wins at WCL Division Two in Namibia. Nepali cricket’s future was at stake when they went to Zimbabwe to play the WC Qualifier. Three straight losses started to weigh on Nepali fans at home – but not on the players who showed their true mettle on the field and fought back to secure fairy-tale victories in two must-win games over Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea to seal the ODI status. It’s the perseverance, resilience and the passion of Nepali cricketers that have made all the Nepalis proud today. This ODI debut is just a beginning; Nepal have a long way to go. Nepali cricket hence needs an all-out support. We have earlier also argued in this space that the state and all concerned must do all they can to promote Nepali cricket which has emerged as a sport that unites all the Nepalis. As we celebrate this moment, everyone involved in bringing Nepali cricket to this stage deserves full credit. A win in the debut ODI would have been an icing on the cake. But still, history has been made, and we will cherish this for long. Wins and losses are but part of a game. What matters is the spirit to excel.

Keep your promise

After more than three years of the devastating 2015 earthquake, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has now covered the remains of the iconic Dharahara with tarpaulin to protect it from further erosion. The government had decided to preserve the remains of the original one in a glass enclosure for posterity. Built in 1825 by then prime minister Bhimsen Thapa, the 18-storey tower was damaged during the 1934 earthquake. It was rebuilt shorter than the original one.

The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) has prepared a new design of the tower spreading in around 22 ropanis of land. It was supposed to start reconstruction by the end of the last fiscal. However, no work has been initiated so far. What the KMC has done is it has demolished the illegal structures. Rebuilding the tower has been delayed due to lack of coordination among the concerned agencies. The government, KMC and NRA should not waste any more time to rebuild it. As the chairman of the NRA Steering Committee, Prime Minister KP Oli must pay heed to this project as he had earlier promised to rebuild it at the earliest even by raising every single penny from the public.