The Eastern Diary: The agony of an unfulfilled dream

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Kids street cricket in Damak, Jhapa.

You watch your heroes on TV and dream of playing alongside them. You play your heart out in matches and seek that chance to show your ability. You practice as much as you can, even training alone, when there is no one else to train with you.
The trouble is that nagging question: Do you even have a chance or are you wasting your time with an impossible aim?
You know the raw facts already. Most people who play cricket never go on to even reach the level of being called, “a professional cricketer”.
Above statement suits, every young player who desire to play cricket but in terms of Nepal above statement will perfectly suit the young players of the eastern part of Nepal.

I was studying in grade 8. I used to play cricket sometimes. It was 2014, and Nepal cricket team got participated in ICC T20 world cup for the first time. Paras Khakda and CO. lighten up the lamp of my cricketing dream. They showed that we can achieve everything if we dream about it and work patiently and relentlessly.

After then, my interest and motivation towards this beautiful game boosted up and I started to weave the big dreams of representing Nepal in future. I talked about this with few of my close friends who were equally enthusiastic about cricket and their positive perceptions helped me to grow up my big dreams even bigger. I used to watch every intentional match and used to have a discussion over it with my friends in school. Slowly, our environment was all about cricket whether it is about discussion or playing cricket in class, copy as a bat and package of paper as a ball. After on, we collected other friends in the village and started to play cricket in an open area which was located in our village. We collected some money and bought a cricket bat and a tennis ball. Since that day we had bunked our departure assembly every day and sprinted towards our respective home. We used to take off breakfast very quickly and rush away towards our ground. We used to divide ourselves into two sides and played several matches until it got dark. Slowly, it became our daily routine. Not any advice but the abrupt behavior of locality turned people to be the part of our day. We used to walk an hour to another village to play against each of them every Saturday. We used to play with them with a bet of a certain amount of money, which motivated us to give out our best. We used to play with our all intention no matter its winter’s icy atmosphere or summer’s loud sun.

Year changed, time flew away, some new friends were added up, bet amount turns into trophies but our grounds which had ups and downs in bowling run-up area, two big and a small hole in the middle of the pitch, two interlocks between boundary remained same. We changed three bats but that tennis ball, the habit of taking out shoes while playing remain same. We saw stitch ball for the first time in grade 10 in our village’s stationery shop. We bought it immediately but it wasn’t bouncing on our pitch, so we threw it away. We played several local tournaments. We won uncountable matches. I used to imagine me as a player every night before I went to my bed. We used to run every morning. I used to swing my hand as a bat every time. Cricket was all over me and I thought I was born to play cricket. We were very near to SLC and our teachers, parents started to jerk us daily for playing cricket. Everyone started to troll us for giving more time to cricket and we kept it on the sideline until SLC. My father promised to send me to cricket academy after SLC. SLC got finished and I started to search for cricket academy in Jhapa. There was no any cricket academy in Eastern Development Region. One of my senior brother suggested me to go Kathmandu. Somehow, I managed to get the contact number of one of the cricket academy of Kathmandu. They informed me that it cost around ten thousand monthly for training charge and hostel charge. The amount was more than my family’s monthly expenditure and probably more than my father monthly income. I didn’t dare to talk about it with my father. I move on and started to take further education. My dreams were washed away by those every night tears.
(Above paragraph I/we represent numerous young guns from Eastern Development Region)

Bunch of cricket passionate boys playing cricket in Jhapa.

As I’m also a resident of Jhapa, easternmost district of Nepal, I can assert that cricket passionate and hard-working teens of this part of Nepal are most unfortunate. I can observe so much of gully cricket, so-called spears tournament, street cricket and cricket in narrow corridor every day but no any players go on up to national level yet, not even in the national level domestic tournament. Siddhant Lohani and Pushpa Thapa are only two players from this part of the country to play national level domestic tournament. Even they aren’t up to their standard as Nepal is yet to witness best of Lohani and Pushpa. Too much of tennis ball cricket is harming the present and eventually the future of them a lot.

Here are plenty of hard-working teens from this region who are practicing too hard to achieve their goal but even they don’t know the path of their goal. According to my recent interaction with one of the adult cricket player of Jhapa, he claimed that players selection isn’t transparent and there isn’t a proper advertisement for it. Here is no any cricket academy in Eastern Development Region. There is one or two name of an academy in eastern development region which we could find through Google but its unplug since years ago. There isn’t any player from this part of the country in the national cricket team. This factor is also affecting the future of young players. No any player in national cricket team means no any source of inspiration. No any example which they can deliver to their parents to convince. If they deliver the name of the player from other parts of the country then answer will be like “Its not possible to be a player from here, there are different system and regulation in that part”. We can understand the parents’ feelings too, they are concern about their children’s future and there is no any example or role model from this region so they thought that it’s not possible to be player from here. If fortunately any parents got convinced to their children’s dream then also they can’t bear the charge of the academy as well as hostel as it too high.

Training charge is very much acceptable but the hostel charge is above the par expenditure. And there isn’t any academy, not even a stich ball base cricket club in eastern part of Nepal to be watched as a viewer frequent from the home itself. So, the national team is composed of players from only (3/4) part of the country as it’s not nurturing players of the eastern part of the country. Not even local people are putting their effort, not a school or college as here we can see very few inter-school tournament that too with a tennis ball.

Cricket Ground at its worst condition.

Forget about the ground provision, if players utilize bare area then they should bear the locality’s people torture every day. Hence, I don’t want to blame government only, locally intellectual persons are also equally responsible for this cause. But what about these innocent, hard-working players? They are not getting support from anywhere else, not from family, school, teacher, the government neither from media nor from any cricket passionate organization. They need to replace that tennis ball by stitch ball quickly. But how can they replace single-handedly as stitch ball don’t bounce in their self-made pitches? They can’t invest themselves in pitches as they aren’t sure whether they will get that ground for tomorrow or not. I had just got an advertisement of Jhapa T20 knockout tournament and immediately I gave them a call and showed my desire to cover it in our website, they replied that why will you have a coverage it as it tennis ball tournament. The biggest cash-rich tournament of Jhapa is going to be held by a tennis ball. Isn’t it shameful news?

Patience, relentless hard work, and dedication of young innocent players are going in vain. They can’t even get the path of their goal even after their 100% dedication. Its OK, everyone can’t make it to the national team but they deserve at least the way to full fill their dream after their 100% dedication. It’s a high time for all of us to do something for those innocent teens.

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