Nepali Cricket: An Afghans fan’s perception

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Nepal beat Afghanistan by nine runs in WT20 2014.

Nepal Cricket Team is always at the top among the associate nation in terms of fan following. Their fans celebrate cricket as a festival and probably they worship their players as a god. Cricket takes place in every part of Nepal. Nowadays, Nepalese fans follow their players and take concern about their every aspect. People boil up since a month back from any tournament. Players work very hard and try to give their fans best possible response but still, they aren’t being able to find the way for it. The period between (2010-2014) were glorious years for Nepali cricket and probably that period drew the fate of Nepali cricket. From ICC World Cricket League Division V to the Division II and ICC World T20. That period was not less than any conceive story. But after then, Nepal hung off on the same level, probably Nepal fell underneath a bit.

Since 2014 to 2018, the period was and is still a nightmare for Nepal. From showing great potential in 2014 World Twenty20 to get disqualified for 2016 World Twenty20. The four-year journey did consist of emotion, tears, and prayers from fans, relentless hard work, and dedication from players but still, it produced nothing more than upset and tragedy.

In (2010-2014) there was one team which was walking inside by side of Nepal. The team Afghanistan was also emerging in the same period as Nepal. Both teams participated in 2014 Twenty20 World Cup as it was Nepal’s first appearance and Afghanistan’s second. Both teams showed their great anticipation. Both teams were playing the same level of cricket. Both teams were praised by world-class cricket experts and termed them as a future of cricket.

NEP vs HK during WT20 2014

But now, I’m sitting here on the sideline of TU cricket ground, Kirtipur and watching Nepal cricket team preparing for ICC World Cricket League Division II. I clicked Cricbuzz logo, where I saw Afghanistan’s news about test series against India. Isn’t it strange? two teams who were playing on the same level just four years back has difference of sky and earth in terms of strength, performance as well as achievements.

The situation of Afghanistan was even worst then Nepal as they are still struggling to host an international match. The fan following is pretty similar as both teams fans are loud and proud.

Economical, political and stakeholders situation were also pretty similar. But what differentiated these two sides? Many people have their own opinion and it varies from one person to another. Then, we decided to take a perception about Nepali cricket from Afghanistan’s local fan. We contacted one of Afghanistan superfan and cricket lover, Lamar. He follows the Nepali cricket and following is his perception about cricket in Nepal.

Lamar’s perception about Nepali Cricket in his own word

Lamar in team Nepal jersey.

Having gone through the same ranks of the associate league, major tournament qualifiers. We Afghani are well known and aware of Nepal’s journey. From the highs of T20 world cup 2014 to losing its T20I status and being relegated from WCLC, we Afghans have followed the whole journey due to Afghanistan being associated with it most of the time. If I have to talk about the good prospect of Nepal’s cricket then, the first thing that comes to my mind is their huge fan following. They have home ground with a huge fan base. There is a big pool of players with regular T20 tournaments recently.

They have plenty of naturally talented players and homegrown players. They are always strong age level side. If I have to pinpoint bad aspect then the first aspect will be the absence of governing body. I always check their official Facebook page, but they haven’t posted anything since two years. Nepali players are lacking series against other nation as they only follow ICC or ACC tournament. I think they are lacking 50 overs or four-day matches in the domestic circuit. Stadium of Nepal seems old as it needs modernizing. Another big aspect is they don’t have a coach with test experience. In my view, if Nepal has a strong cricket board then will get ODI status with 1-2 years.

All of his perceptions were well familiar to us. We have talked a lot about such topics. But one of his perception points stood out for me. According to him, Nepal lacked test experience coach. I think it is also one of the reasons behind Nepal’s downfall.

Pubudu Dassanayake, Credit: PahiloPost

Nepal raise to its best level when Pubudu Bathiya Dassanayake served Nepal as a head coach. He had 11 test matches experience as his test debut was against South Africa in 1993. After the end of his serving period, Nepal failed to appoint another coach having test experience where legendary players like Inzamam ul Haq and Dean Jones were coaching the Afghans boys. I think its high time for Nepal to appoint a coach having test experience. Last four years were their nightmare as now its new year, they have an ability to touch the maximum height if they come up with some vital changes. Nepal will start the year 2018 with ICC World Cricket League Division II in Namibia in February. So, this basically would be a time to play the best cricket according to their merit.

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