Cricket is considered as the Gentlemen’s game, all thanks to The Gentlemen magazine in the 90’s in the land of Englishmen. “Gentlemen” was not just a tagline but praise that most of the ruler seeks in those days. Slowly, it became a global phenomenon after Football ruled the Global sports fraternity in terms of broadcast as well as fan followings.
The evolution of Cricket seems as a myth today as the game was unknown or known just among limited class of people in a limited place. All the way back in the 60’s with WG Grace (known as Father of Cricket) to Rashid Khan (currently a no. 1 T20I bowler) Cricketing world has been through massive ups and lots of downs.
I consider myself lucky to be born in an era of Sachin Tendulkar. To be able to grow up with Sachin’s Cover drive and majestic cover drive with Tony Grieg’s Voice reverberating with that British ascent of his is quiet a remarkable part of my childhood. I am sure most of you would agree that we used to ask was Sachin still on the crease or not? Slowly Sachin transformed himself into a Cricketing God who is always and will be an inspiration to everyone of us associated with cricket.
In the past decade, the world has seen even legends in the likes of Sachin would struggle to get his 100th century. Similarly, we have seen Kumar Sangakara, Mahela Jaywerdene, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and now AB Devilliers bid Good bye to the world cricket.
We have seen the transformation of Lasith Malinga from a deceptive fast bowler to a predictable medium pacer coping his tough days with a lot of injuries. A sharp Dale Steyn to a medium paced South African speed star, his injuries added an additional pressure to a world class South African team. At last but not the least a complete white ball team of West Indies to a limited 20 over team that constantly lost momentum if the power hitter backfired, the story would go on and on if we continue in this manner.
The change in the fate of some cricketing nations would also be considered as stories of decade for the following generations. The ineptitude shown by the countries like Kenya as well as Zimbabwe shows the effect of lack of accountability as well as feasibility not being able to meet the standard set by the bigger countries like India, Australia, England as well as South Africa. The political interference is considered hugely by the main streams when asked about the negative development in terms of their degrading status in the global cricket.
The rise of cricket and volume of spirit that has grown in a nation like Afghanistan as well as Ireland paved a way for the other enhancing Associates like Netherlands, Scotland, UAE and Nepal to make a huge leap of their cricketing history. The Cricketing world has gone regularly for shortening its format with 100 ball cricket being the hot topic of C-town. Still those white dress, red ball as well as their respective cap of the team. The traditionalist culture of cricket will still remain as the longer and the most privileged form of cricket. As Kevin Pietersen hailed recently in the BCCI Awards delivering the prestigious Tiger Pataudi Lecture that “A hard fought five- day test match remains the greatest all-round challenge in modern-day sport” sums up the love and integrity that the long format of the game holds in this modern era of cricket.
Sitting in the media pavilion of TU Cricket stadium, a day after Calum Macleod scored a historic 148 against a no 1 ODI side of the world, I just think what is that separates a rising cricket nation with less management in comparison to similar nations with proper management? How cricket made such tremendous leap in the South Asian power house India that produced such an inspiring students of the Cricket School that none of the world has ever seen?
Being a fan of cricket in Nepal, after learning all the stories and luckily got a chance to go through all the hard works and dedications of Nepal’s 1st centurion Raju Khadka, Nepal’s ex coach in the likes of Roy Dias as well as Pubudu Dassanayake, warriors in the form of Mehboob Alam and Binod Das; Nepali cricket has seen itself into Divisions, elite series and now into a new arena of ODI.
One of the basic things that strikes after seeing the lofted shot from Anil Shah over long on, have cricketing culture being established in Nepal? If you go through the website of Paras Khadka , national cricket team captain of Nepal, you will find an interesting section where he thanks his grandfather for bringing news paper where he saw the advert of the inter school competition and he has mentioned his luck for getting an opportunity to take part in the tournament that turned his life upside down and rest they say is history.
But is that what how the system work? Shouldn’t Paras Khadka and thousands of Paras Khadka lost in the crowd of referrals and political connections must be groomed or scouted? The national icon and one of the aspiring leaders that Nepal has ever produced admits himself that if he was asked to come through the selection process that other youngsters do currently he would not be in the national side. That sums up the story of Nepali domestic circuit.
The current sensation of Nepali Cricket, Sandeep Lamichhane, who is not less than a household name in the country and his story of slowly becoming a youth icon in the nation of cricket lovers, is not an extra ordinary process too. The only thing that possibly changed his fate was the presence of Pubudu Dassanayake in an ordinary camp in Chitwan. What if Sandeep was sick or absent in the day? How he would get recruited? How come the world knows that talents exist in Nepal and still the process is taking an individual rather than the whole nation in the global stage?
The lack of schooling is creating a huge hole in the development of the superstars who are slowly dooming themselves in the lime light of temporary stardom. The kind of knowledge that should have passed to the upcoming youngsters with proper 3 day to 4 day matches are not being started or rather halted by some leagues as well as low graded tournaments where no single effort is being pondered.
The status of ODI is not just a phenomenon but a start of a process to produce batsmen who could handle pressure for 50 overs. It is a base for the current and upcoming players that red ball cricket is not far from imagination. We are almost there if Nepal itself starts a proper functioning of the process with our initiation. There are grounds strangling all over the nation but we are looking it to be in the capital because of our central limited thinking.
Playing against MCC in a white colored dress is not the ultimate or clicking your favorite posed picture in the balcony of the Mecca of Cricket is not what we as a fan of Nepali cricket are seeking, Nepal must learn to play bold and dynamic cricket from our fellow friends from Afghanistan who made their own story at the global stage just for their followers to come out of trauma and tragedy in their nation.
A hat-trick and a century or 6 wickets haul or even well compiled half century that fogs out a huge century of a hard hitter in the domestic circuit will go in vain if the culture of cricket wouldn’t progress.
Thanks to the biopic of The God of Cricket, I got a chance to come across a well managed system which copes to recognize a young talent at the age of 14 who later on would score 100 international Centuries but not by luck rather scouted from early days in school to Ranji trophy, Irani Trophy to the highest level of the game. A billion dreams is not earned only by luck but hard work staying in a proper culture of cricket and the responsibility transferred from the previous generations.
And now getting into the groove for watching MSD, Nepali cricket must learn that a player is not just picked according to his ability to cope the highest level but the actual effort one makes to come into the bigger picture. Before being selected in the Indian Cricket team, Dhoni had already scored 30 tons in 2 years playing all across the states as well as grounds near and beyond reach as well.
These are just examples very nearby when looked from a drone height but if we go across all the success stories, the most common part we would find is a proper system that has created the real potential of the players. The sense of an individual in the correct state and treating the game of cricket always above them has made them champions, taught them to rise even after the worst possible fall that we could imagine as a newly listed ODI nation alongside Netherlands, Scotland and UAE.
The first leap of Nepal to burst into the scene after ICC World Cup Qualifier of 2018 was not less than a dream and fight of the youngsters with never give up attitude.
This must provide lesson to the responsible parts of Cricket fraternity right from the administrators to the commentators coming into the scene that 14 Feb 2018 wasn’t just magic but an agony of a youngster proving lot of critics that Nepalese Cricket needs a huge revision right from today if we want ourselves situated in the highest level of the game.
If not now then when will the millions of fans shouting in the social media must know that the likes of Hari Chauhan, Sher Malla, Susan Bhari as well as Mehboob Alam( a junior cricketer from Biratngar waiting for his opportunity to rise and shine with an iconic name) would get stuck in this ever stuck administration that is halting the real progress of the beautiful game hiding lot of gems in various part of this diversified nation.