June 19, 2006

Nepal

Nepal cricket on the up

Will

An interesting article at the BBC today profiling Nepali cricket. Paresh Soni interviews Aamir Akhtar, who has attracted interest from Surrey and he hopes to play for their 2nd XI side.

"Things have gone well and Surrey have shown some interest. If I keep performing and reach the standard required I might get a contract," the allrounder told BBC Sport. "I've done well in a couple of matches and been training with them at The Oval.

"Junior cricket in Nepal is booming but because of the lack of infrastructure, players in their late 20s - who are mostly uneducated and unemployed - leave the game because they can't find sponsorship," the left-arm paceman and middle-order batsman explained.

"We only have one stadium dedicated to cricket with a proper turf pitch, in Kathmandu. Everywhere else you have to play on matting and in stadia shared with other sports.

"Junior cricket in Nepal is booming but because of the lack of infrastructure, players in their late 20s - who are mostly uneducated and unemployed - leave the game because they can't find sponsorship," the left-arm paceman and middle-order batsman explained.

"We only have one stadium dedicated to cricket with a proper turf pitch, in Kathmandu. Everywhere else you have to play on matting and in stadia shared with other sports.

"Our players are not exposed to other types of conditions - they only go abroad when they have to play in a tournament."

You would think the country's geography would make it virtually impossible to play the sport to any degree of competence - but such is the interest, many Nepalese make light of this.

Akhtar believes an opportunity exists to tap into this potential but knows economic realities will hinder that.

"I have seen boys playing near base camps in the Himalayas. Traditionally it was played in the region near the border with India, which is where I am from, but it is spreading all over the country.

One day we will get one-day international status - but don't expect anything instant

Aamir Akhtar

"We have a National Academy due to be completed within two years and when we hosted the Asian Cricket Council U-19 Championship in Kathmandu in February, 25-30,000 people were turning up to watch matches against Malaysia, Singapore and the UAE.

"Just imagine what would happen if we were playing India or Pakistan? We should also be looking to host triangular series between the India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka A teams and then eventually have senior teams over for one-day internationals.

"We need to commercialise cricket more. If we can't bring investors in we should get our companies to employ players to give them job security so they dedicate themselves to playing for their country."

If strides can be made, Akhtar believes Nepal's playing conditions - "a mixture of the subcontinent and England" - are the ideal breeding ground for county and international standard players.

"With the mountains and altitude, the ball swings and seams even in the summer. If Nepalese players came here they would do well," he added.

"At the moment that looks unlikely for the next 10-15 years. We are not at that level yet but I have no doubt the potential is there for them to play here eventually.

"They are among the best natural athletes in South Asia and one day we will get one-day international status - but don't expect anything instant."

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Posted by Monish K. Shrestha on (June 8, 2009, 14:56 GMT)

Unless and until a player's future is financially secure, no amount of cricket, domestic or international, will do any good. We've had successes galore at junior lever that hasn't translated into success at senior level. The reason is plain and simple. How many current players are above the age of 28, the age at which cricketer matures and plays best cricket? Answer will be: VERY FEW. And what are the chances that we'll see the current players in the team for long? VERY LESS. The reason for players phasing out of the game before their prime is basically financial. This is where CAN, among other things, has failed miserably. Nepal seriously lags behind in terms of infrastructure and logistics, but it surely is rich when it comes to player's enthusiasm for the game, which seems to wane away with passage of time. So, if we need to succeed and see us amongst the top in cricketing fraternity, player's future has to be secured and CAN needs to take special initiatives in this regard.

Posted by punj pokharel on (February 18, 2008, 13:03 GMT)

there is no doubt that nepal is a new rising star in the world of cricket.but it needs to play with better teams. ACC should arrange some multinational teams in the country. we are really looking forward to get ODI status and Test in near future. the junior team really does well and thats the team that shows the future. but due to a secure future, they are underperforming in senior level. so , the sponsorship and financial backup should be made strong

Posted by prakash dhakal on (July 23, 2006, 5:36 GMT)

i feel that NEAPAL is developing nation in cricket.but i would prefer to say it a rapid developing nation being awarev of the fact that nepalese u-19 team has played 3 consecutives times in world cup and even defeated teams like pakistan and south africa. this shows how strong this team can be and even it has won the u-19 plate champiomnship defeating new zealand.this is not a just a fortune or luck to defeat 3 strong teams,it is their potential which did this. i feel icc should help financially to develop the country's level in cricket.and i feel nepal can be the other team to get test stataus.

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