Nepali cricket looking to restore lost pride

"We do not have anything in our hands and need to wait for ICC’s instructions for training and

foreign tours"

— Jagat Tamatta, Head Coach

Kathmandu, January 19

Nepali national cricket team will be looking to regain the pride when they compete in the ICC World Cricket League Division-II in Namibia next month.

A total of six teams — hosts Namibia, Nepal, Canada, Kenya, Oman and the United Arab Emirates — will compete

in the February 8-15 event which sends top two sides to the ICC World Cup Qualifiers to be held in Zimbabwe from March 2-25.

This is the second chance for Nepal along with Kenya, UAE and Namibia to earn berths in the World Cup Qualifiers after they missed the chance in the ICC World Cricket League Championship held among eight teams in between 2015-2017. Top four sides — the Netherlands, Scotland, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea — of the WCL Championship got selected for the qualifiers.

However, national team skipper Paras Khadka said the team had another chance to grab. “I think all eight teams of the WCL Championship were equally competitive but unfortunately we lost a couple of close matches and it just slipped out of our hands,” said Khadka. “We have another opportunity to move to the Division-I and we will play good cricket to reach there again,” said skipper Khadka.

After missing out on the WCL Championship, the Namibia event remains the most important tournament for Nepali cricket. It not only paves way for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers but also decides the future of the sport.

Top two teams from the WCL Division-II will join the West Indies, Ireland, the Netherlands, PNG, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Scotland and Hong Kong in the World Cup Qualifiers. And the Netherlands and three top teams among associates countries will earn ODI status till 2022.

National cricket team head coach Jagat Tamatta said the WCL Division-II will decide the future of Nepali cricket and the players. “The WCL Division-II is the most important event for us. If the team can do well in Namibia and Zimbabwe, we will get chance to play cricket at higher level for the next four years. If results do not come to our favour, Nepali cricket might be pushed back into darkness,” said Tamatta.

Coach Tamatta said team’s overall training was good and players are ready to take their responsibilities as they are well aware of the importance of the event. “Since the tournament will decide the future of Nepali cricket as well as players, all the team members are preparing well,” he said. “Currently we have focused on skills and trying to improve in batting,” added Tamatta.

Skipper Khadka said the team needed to handle the pressure well to win matches and go ahead. “We have come a long way from WCL Division-V and we have gone through various pressure situations in the past. We need to handle the pressure properly,” said Khadka. The skipper

said that the tournament would not be easy as all the participating teams were of similar level.

As Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) remains suspended by the International Cricket Council, Nepal’s national cricket team’s schedules are decided by the world governing body. The ICC has been directly involved in the players’ selection besides deciding team’s preparation tours. “We do not have anything in our hands and need to wait for ICC’s instructions for training and foreign tours,” said coach Tamatta.

“We wanted to go to South Africa for preparation and requested the ICC to manage the tour. But despite more than three requests, the ICC directed us to go to Dubai saying there was no other option,” lamented Tamatta. “South Africa could have been a perfect venue for the team’s final preparation as conditions there are very much similar to that of Namibia. But we are forced to go to Dubai.”

Tamatta informed that the team was scheduled to travel to Dubai on January 27 and play three practice matches, including one against UAE-XI. The two others matches will be played against local clubs. The Nepali team will fly for Namibia directly from the UAE.