Nepali cricket team has added one more feather to its cap and has shown that it is slowly coming of age
Nepalis have something to cheer. The Nepali cricket team has made us proud by defeating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by four wickets in the third One Day International match in Dubai on Monday to win the series 2-1. Skipper Paras Khadka scored a maiden ODI century (115 runs off just 109 balls) with the help of 14 fours and a six. His stunning batting ultimately helped Nepal win over the UAE, chasing down a huge 255-run target with 32 balls to spare. The ODI win is the biggest achievement for Nepal that had played just three ODIs before the team toured the UAE. Earlier Nepal had played two-match series against the Netherlands after securing ODI status in March. Nepal’s first-ever ODI series in Amsteelven had ended in a 1-1 draw in August last year. The most interesting thing to note is that Nepal has for the first time scored a century and five half centuries in the ODIs. Batsman Rohit Kumar Paudel became the youngest cricketer to score an ODI half century in the second match played against the UAE on Saturday.
Following the series against the UAE, Nepal has now been placed 15th in the International Cricket Council rankings. Everybody exhibited great talent in the third ODI at the ICC Academy grounds in Dubai. Nepal won the toss and put the UAE into bat. Initially, the UAE’s performance was poor with just 47-4. However, the UAE team managed to recover from the feeble performance, posting 254-6 in 50 overs. As an emerging ODI team, chasing such a high score was no mean task for Nepal. However, the Nepali team unbelievably chased the target within 44.4 overs due to skipper Khadka’s spectacular batting. Khadka was dismissed by Qadeer Ahmed when Nepal still needed 40 runs to win. However, Aarif Sheikh (21) and Sompal Kami (26) gave the finishing touches to win the match.
After winning the match, an elated skipper Khadka shared his feelings, “Once you become an ODI team, you need to chase 270-80 runs”. He also thanked his team mates for chipping in important runs. It all became possible to chase the highest ever runs in international cricket because of their collective efforts. Khadka is hopeful of also performing well in the three-match Twenty20 International series with the UAE starting today. The victory over the UAE on Monday is the biggest achievement Nepal has seen in international cricket, and this has added one more feather to its cap. With this stunning victory over the UAE, the Nepali cricket team has shown that it is slowly coming of age and will try to make its mark in international cricket. There is no doubt that Nepal has huge potential in cricket, but for this the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) needs to mend its ways and act as a responsible supporting institution, free from politics, for the development of this sports sector. Regular national level cricket matches should be held to hunt for and groom budding talents like Paudel and Sandeep Lamichhane. The absence of adequate infrastructure is a major hindrance the federal government needs to address. Whatever the Nepali cricket team has achieved at the international level is largely due to their individual efforts, without much institutional backing. It is time CAN rose above partisan interests to take Nepali cricket to a newer height.
That 1,848 development projects worth Rs 118 billion have failed to meet the completion deadline is worrisome, to say the least. The study was carried out by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority. It is rare to hear about any development project being carried out smoothly these days, resulting in extended contract deadlines and causing huge losses to the state. With the gloomy situation as it is, one is compelled to question if this is being done deliberately for financial and other benefits.
With projects, even national pride ones, being delayed under one pretext or the other, how can we expect to graduate to developing nation status anytime soon? Lack of accountability on the part of the ministries, departments, authorities and companies is responsible for missing project deadlines. When there is no fear of punishment, projects will be tempted to not only miss deadlines but also comprise on quality. The constant delay in the execution of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project should have served as a wake-up call to our authorities that it is time to change the modus operandi of awarding and completing projects.
A version of this article appears in print on January 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.