The New Year has begun for sports sector in slightly unconventional way. Right on the second day of the brand new year, we saw an exchange of blows on a football pitch. Yes,don’t be surprised… A football pitch. If you witnessed the players in that exchange, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the players had one drink toomany, while bidding adieu to the past year.
Some went onto call it undesirable, while some chose to ignore it. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no place for violence in sports. I’ve never ever been able to understand if there could be ‘desire’ for such a thing. It has to becondemned in the strongest of words, and actions. If your children want to be a football player in future and if they saw it, tell them this is exactly whatthey should avoid on a pitch, and off the pitch too. Hopefully, it was aone-off incident and we don’t see it replicated in future. Five red cards in amatch involving top teams cannot be a matter of pride for any.
A few days beforefootballers – along with them their clubs and their governing authority –shamed ‘the beautiful game’ in a beautiful city called Pokhara, some cricketerswere trying to showcase their talent.
Nepal’scricket coach, Pubudu Dassanayake was on his mission to find new talent. Hehas, in a few months that he’s taken charge of the team, said that Nepal needsmore players playing at the highest level. He witnessed some players at thecamps held in Pokhara and Bhairahawa.
“Fromwhat I saw at the camps, the players look very promising,” Dassanayakesays. “The good thing is, some of them have raw talent, which can bedeveloped.” Now he wants to bring these players to the capital next weekand have a separate camp for some of these players selected from the camp.
This could,perhaps be the shot-in-the-arm that Nepali cricket has been looking for. Havingraw, promising talent being groomed at a camp will effectively increase theplayer pool for national selection. There is hardly any better sight in cricketthan a raw fast bowler running in and bowling at full throttle or a youngbatsman cutting or pulling short balls with a gay abandon, without paying anyrespect to their opponents.
It should benoted here that Pubudu acquired a speed gun – machine that measures speed ofthe ball – when his wife was coming to Nepal from Canada. Now this doesn’t onlyshowcase his commitment to Nepali cricket, but also tells us that we will beable to know exactly what speed our bowlers bowl at. We don’t have to talkabout the relative speed of our bowlers anymore. The speed gun was used inthese camps.
“Thefastest bowler I found was clocking 75 miles an hour. And he was a rawtalent,” Dassanayake says, “With a fitness regimen in place, he shouldbe able to bowl at 80 mph.”
This meanswe could now have bowlers bowling at a lively pace, pushing the opposition onthe backfoot, early on.
Interestingly,some players that were in the national scheme at some point, Akash Gupta, AntimThapa and Dipesh Khatri have also been respotted for future. Akash, despitebeing a free flowing batsman, had been fed up of the system and had removedhimself from reckoning. Now that these players have a chance to be back,there’s every possibility that more talents would be positive towards cricket.At the same time, those players who think national team is their birthright,may be shaken to perform. It’s always good to have healthy competition withinthe pool.
Plans are tohave a separate bowlers’ camp and a tournament involving 50 best players ofNepal sometime later this month, followed by a trip to India for the team toplay with local teams. Now it’s up to Cricket Association to see it as a cost,or an investment.
Whatever bethe case, yours truly sees it as new hopes emerging in the New Year. The year,when we are to play in T20 World Cup Qualifiers…
(PS: The write-upappeared in Yours Truly’s weekly sports column – OFFSIDE – in The KathmanduPost, on 7th January, 2012)