It’s Time Nepali Cricket Turned Professional

If I tell you, ‘CAN (Cricket Association of Nepal) is not dynamic,’ you might wave a hand and say, ‘Maybe’.  But, if the same line comes from the captain of Team Nepal, it is certain to make you start to worry.

If I add that the skipper says that indifference or apathy from the CAN officials has affected the players’ performance, your worry level is bound to shoot up. So was I, after reading the Team Nepal’s captain complaining about CAN being unprofessional.

There would be several who would question Paras Khadka for being outspoken and not talking well about an organization of which he is a part of. But make no mistake; Paras Khadka’s aggression is not his disloyalty to CAN or Nepali cricket. Rather, it is an example of his honest intentions for Nepali cricket.  There were questions raised, when he had taken a head-on approach in mid-2010 to top cricket officials, demanding players’ stake in the earnings of CAN and apathy of CAN officials. Many had branded him as headstrong, brash captain. But, even then his ‘unpleasant’ statement were not careless, neither was it without thinking.

Paras Khadka: His 'unpleasant' statements reflect his love for Nepali Cricket. Pubudu Dassanayake: Aims to get Nepal a ODI status in next 12 months. With 'voluntary' Cricket Association, can he?
Paras Khadka: His ‘unpleasant’ statements reflect his love for Nepali Cricket.
Pubudu Dassanayake: Aims to get ODI status for Nepal in next 12 months. With ‘voluntary’ Cricket Association, can he?
Photo: Self

At the same program, where Paras said ‘CAN is running in unprofessional manner’, the association’s executive member Kiran Rana said that ‘only a few capable officials’ in a team of 32. That itself justifies the captain’s statement.

It is true that Cricket Association has not shown much interest in making itself a professional. Way back in July 2009, when Asian Cricket Council’s Development Manager Bandula Warnapura (incidentally Sri Lanka’s first International captain) was in Nepal, he had said, “With ICC fund coming in from 2009, we want to have professional CAN with permanent CEO, accountant, national coach and development manager which is compulsory according to ICC funding policy. Once these positions are filled, and with ICC fund, I believe that new facilities could be developed and cricket will grow. But there need to right person – no nepotism appointment.”

Alas! Almost four years on, that is yet to be seen. In between, we’ve already seen change of guards in CAN Executive Committee. You don’t need to be a genius to see the impact a professional management can have in the development. As of now, the team manager is appointed on tournament to tournament basis. These appointed team managers don’t have the rights to buy bats for the cricketers. In such situation, if a cricketer needs a bat, whom does he talk to? The treasurer of the Association? Or the President, or the General Secretary? If a cricket pad is torn, a player has to run to association to get it spray painted.

Cricket players, including the captain, have said number of times in the past that it is difficult for them to meet cricket officials, when they want. Most of them do not turn up at CAN office, as the job is voluntary and does not pay. Their day job includes being a school principal, or running a timber factory or being an agent of multinational companies, which hardly gives them time to focus on cricket.

The executive body of an association – more so in sport – is like government, which is responsible to make policies, but an entity that can be replaced by other personnel. The professional manpower appointed on salary, is like bureaucracy – the permanent government – that implements the policy and gets the job done on day-to-day basis. If a government is smart and means development, it makes sure that the bureaucracy is kept in shape. For the bureaucracy makes sure that institutional knowledge is retained in the organization and with every change of guard, there is no confusion about where to start working. A case in example would be the Mulpani Cricket Ground, which is being built for last five years and yet not completed. If you ask association members, they are never sure what is happening with it.

2003, when CAN Executive Committee led by Jay Kumar Nath Shah was sacked – to be reinstalled with change of few members around a month later – CAN was left without any officials for an entire duration of U-19 National championship. The entire championship was conducted by cricket coaches working for National Sports Council.

That is definitely not the way to go, if we want to become an ODI nation in a year, as head coach Pubudu Dassanayake aspires to.

(PS: This write-up appeared in yours truly’s weekly column in The Kathmandu Post – OFFSIDE – on 9th February, 2013)

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