Cricket on a sticky wicket?

If you are a cricket fan and feeling bad with the news of Asian Cricket Council slapping 10 percent penalty on the capital and development grant forNepal, you should probably know that the worst is definitely not over.

If you think Cricket Association of Nepal was dim-witted for failing to submit the financial report within the deadline, you’d probably think twice before using the word dim-witted. For, there could be worse news in the offing for cricket fans.

At one point of time, not too long ago, many would have thought that Nepali cricket will run into problems due to political interference. Well, it has. And it doesn’t need a genius to deduce that politics is the reason behind it, even if it is not directly visible.

Sixth National Games is less than a stone’s throw away and cricket is a part of it. Normally, that should be a joy for cricket fans. But there is a slight anomaly. Players from national team will play in the championship. Fair? The answer will be a big NO, if you know it is to be played on matting wickets. Matting wickets? Are you crazy? Now, anybody with general cricket knowledge will tell you, matting wickets are a thing of past.

Add to that,Nepalplays ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers – the highest level we’ve ever sent our team to – starting March 13 in UAE. International matches are not played on such surface anymore. Experts tell you playing on mat increases injury scare to the players. After playing on mat, how do you expect our players to be able to faceHong Kong,Afghanistan,NetherlandsandCanada, plus a few others. Again, it doesn’t take a genius to deduce what National Games could mean to cricket.

Recently, a fellow journalist asked a CAN official, why such short sightedness. And the nonchalant answer was that CAN had to bow down to pressure from National Sports Council. But, playing in Mahendranagar and that too on matting wickets? Doesn’t sound good at all…

Three weeks ago, Narayan Karki, curator, was called to make pitches in Mahendranagar. Karki either has to have supernatural powers to prepare a proper pitch, or this is just hogwash from the powers that be, in cricket.

Could Cricket Association not convince Sports Council that the matches could be played inKathmandu, if there was such desperate need. After all, Shooting event of National Games is going to be held here, due to lack of infrastructure in Dhangadhi. Likewise, Golf is to be played in Pokhara. Why such desperation to have cricket in a place where there is virtually no infrastructure. If Football could be excepted – for the same reason of preparation – why not cricket? If Cricket Association has no concern with players’ welfare and result of international games in mind, why is it formed at all?

When Tanka Angbuhang became President of CAN, some enthusiasts thought he could forge better understanding between CAN and NSC, as he and Yuvraj Lama, both were from the same political party. But this case shows there is hardly any understanding between the two and it’s a story of CAN following diktats. Cricket Association does have some people who’ve played cricket to a level and they should have had enough wisdom to suggest that playing on mat would not help preparation for ICC World T20 Qualifiers. Is it that they don’t have enough clout to influence decisions? Or is it that they remained to keep quiet for the ‘favor’ they received while getting reappointment in CAN?

Whatever be the case, the most worried man in Nepali cricket would be Coach Pubudu Dassanayake. Not only would he be worried about players’ injury but also be thinking where on earth did he come. According to his plans, this was the time his wards would be focused on strength training and practicing match scenarios.

Couple of months ago, in these columns, yours truly had mentioned Dassanayake saying, “If everything goes according to the plan, we might qualify for the World Cup.” Wonder what he must be thinking now. For now, all his plans have been thrown into bin, byCAN.And the reasons – it appears – are not cricket.

(PS: The write-up appeared in Yours Truly’s weekly sports column – OFFSIDE – in The Kathmandu Post, on 25th February, 2012)

3 thoughts on “Cricket on a sticky wicket?

  1. This is same as ” Khaye Kha Na Khaye gheech “, if you don’t have a strong leader with cricketing brains you are gone. And in sport like Cricket you are murdered. I feel pity for our players and specially our coach Pubudu Dassanayake , who has just been to Nepal with a successful Campaign as a coach with Canada. Nothing more i can say rather that ” Shree Pashupatinaath lay sadbudhi diun ” .
    Dear Can Members we played cricket on Matting Wickets when we were kid, The World Has Changed Now “? Don’t work just to work , please work to bring results ” ..
    Sudin Pokharel

  2. What an article bro. Outstanding.
    And regarding the problems our cricket is facing, I have nothing to say(means have a lot to say, cant explain it all). The condition is always the same in Nepali politics and Nepali Cricket in special. I don’t know when we gonna have a proper management and a good ratings. Had we a good management and a good governing committee, we probably wouldn’t have been here dreaming of big success. And its very sad to know that the players who are to perform in a world cup qualifier play in a mat before they leave. Whats the use of making players play in mat? Dassanayake will probably watch the players play in Mahendranagar and at that state he will probably be saying “K dasha layera eha aye6u”.

  3. Thank you for informing us about this misadventure. Poor outlook from both NSC and CAN.

    It would have made some sense if this event had happened before the boys toured Mumbai. It would have made some sense to play in this event if you hadn’t already selected a squad of 14 hopefuls. The potential risk of injury to your narrowed-down, top hopefuls (even in top playing surfaces) makes most coaches and technical heads in cricket avoid events that aren’t strategically beneficial to your preparation. Why go to Mumbai to play against tough sides (supposedly), select your squad and then go suicidal in Mahendranagar? It is absurd, and painfully indicative of what CAN’s thinking has morphed into.

    It is more helpful to use the national games to give chances to upcoming cricketers, and not your national squad. CAN and NSC should have gotten together and thought about the national games in terms of long-term cricket development.

    As far as APF is concerned, it is within their right to participate in this event and field their most valuable players. CAN’s inability to put our players under payroll has come to bite its ass. I hope CAN learns some valuable lessons from this saga!

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