Many cricket fans, those who favour game’s global expansion,would be delighted to see Zimbabwe’s re-entry into the Test arena after almosthalf a decade. The cricket world, especially the non-Test playing countries,must be looking at it with the same interest as they did 19 years ago, when Dave Houghton’s amateurs took to the field against India.
This is exactly the moment when Zimbabwe batsman, TatendaTaibu – who had been in self imposed exile after controversially resigning fromthe captaincy in 2005 – took the opportunity to tell the world that all is stillnot well with Zimbabwe Cricket. He said, he spoke out ‘as a senior member inthe side’.
Tatenda Taibu is one name Nepali cricketers and fans alike,would never forget. He was the one who had stopped our boys’ dream run at U-19Cricket World Cup in 2002, beating Nepal in the final of Plate Championship.
As Nepal U-19 team, led by Prithu Baskota, plays the U-19World Cup 2012 qualifiers, the memories of Taibu’s conquest over our team and ourboys’ performance in 2002 in New Zealand comes back flashing.
It’s because that tournament was a special one for Nepalicricketers and fans. A little less than a decade ago, in that tournament, NepaliColts, led by Binod Das, announced themselves to the world – as former SriLankan Test batsman Roy Dias took the team to New Zealand. Nepali boys had aclose loss against English boys then, and were able to beat Pakistan, rankedbetter than Nepal on any day. This had made Nepali boys a rage in New Zealand,who only knew this country because their favorite son Edmund Hillary was one ofthe firsts to have climbed Mt Everest.
“How do you play in the mountains,” they wouldask. “What are you doing in Nepal,” then Coach Roy Dias used to beask.
The questions had helped Nepal being recognized as a cricketcountry. Perhaps no other non-British colony showed as much promise in cricket.Beating a Test country like Pakistan cannot be a fluke.
Taibu was player of the tournament then, as currentAustralia batsman Cameron White was the leading runscorer.
Fast forward a decade later, Taibu is a ‘senior’ batsman forZimbabwe, and Cameron White is an essential in Australian limited over plans.And our boys, who played alongside them are waiting, for yet anotheropportunity. 9 years ago, nobody was questioning the talent Binod Das & Co.had. They looked destined to rise and shine. But, despite being on thelaunchpad, we lost the plot. Maybe we took it too easy, we ignored theessentials, we forgot we had a road to take. Somewhere, we needed cricketadministration to be ‘smarter’ than they showed.
Similar promise has been shown by the team led by PrithuBaskota in the U-19 World Cup Qualifiers this time. How else do you describe afigure of 10 overs, 6 maidens, 9 runs for two wickets, by Bhuvan Karki, followedby overhauling the target with 30 overs to spare, as our boys beat Kenya. It’snot only the win, but the way team is playing should give us hope. Despitelosses – which have been against the team that have better cricketinfrastructure – the wins have been emphatic. The fight has been spot on.
But then, we should not sit on the laurels we get whilebeing termed as promising. For every dream that you see, you have to wake up torealize it. Promises would remain only that, if cricket administration does notremain alert. Boys are doing their bit on the field, authority needs to dotheirs. Engaging them in cricket round the year would be important.
In 2006, we won the Plate championship at the U-19 WorldCup, our best performance in terms of title so far. Then, Ireland was captainedby Eoin Morgan and Sri Lanka was led by Angelo Mathews. Now, Morgan is a vitalpart of English team and Matthews has shown his worth for Sri Lanka. Ourcaptain in that episode was Kanishka Chaugain. He now lives in US…
(PS: The write-up appeared in Yours Truly’s weekly sports column – OFFSIDE – in The Kathmandu Post, on 6th August, 2011)
Disclaimer: The picture shown in the post is courtesy www.ekantipur.com. It was published in the The Kathmandu Post