Cricket Himalaya
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Nepal Cricket Synopsis : History and its aftermaths

 Bibek Chalise, Cricket Himalaya

(http://bibekchalise.com.np)

With ever successful edition of cricket going in the countries capital with almost big support from fans and well-wishers, Nepal has craved its path to the glorious way to a strong Domestic Cricketing structure. A landlocked country in south Asia where cricket started as a fun/pleasure activities for some royal blood has today become the country’s most celebrated sports after football. Although the country had its first interaction with cricket in 1920’s when Lt.-Gen. Madan Shumsher JBR the youngest son of Rana Prime Minister Maharaja Chandra Sumsher JBR brought “The Gentelman’s Game” inside the counrty’s border as a limited game for the Rana family and some elites of Nepal. Although the game was kept within the Royal family and other members of the elite, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) was formed in 1946 to promote cricket amongst the aristocracy.

Since democracy was introduced after the Revolution of 1951 cricket begun spreading to the rest of population of Nepal. As an effort to promote the sport through the nation Cricket Association Of Nepal became the member of National Sports Council. Discarding the fact, the National games tended to be limited to Kathmandu until the 1980s. In the present day scenario it is played by many people throughout the country, especially in the Terai Region due to its close proximity to India.

After the revolutionary phase in political scenario of Nepal, the developed state of communication and transportation facilities allowed the game to be flourished outside Kathmandu in 1980’s. Nepal became an affiliate member of the global cricket governing body ICC in 1988. With this membership of the cricketing circle Nepal started focusing in different developmental activities for the sports in the early 1990’s. As a part of the developmental programme regional and district tournaments were being organised constantly with alongside promotion of cricet in schools. Eventually after 10 years of promotion and all those efforts from the national cricket governing body Nepal became an Associate Member of the ACC in 1990 and a full member in 1994.

The interest of playing cricket grew quite quickly in 1990’s such that the number of teams in tournaments and competitions had to be restricted to a certain number until more facilities could be built. The country got it’s identity of an Associate Member of the cricketing fraternity ICC in 1996, which eventually was the year the national side played for the first time, in the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lalampur, Malasiya. Nepal finished fourth out of six teams in their first round group in this competition, beating Brunei and Japan.

After this years Nepal however was not much successful in International scenario until the NOW-COACH Binod Das era started where Nepal was constantly getting one after another success story in international scenario. The then age level team set different country records alongside delivering the course of happiness in country wining some of the major U-19 streak’s. This spirit of the U-19 team was constantly maintained by the age level teams that followed. The major success dates of Nepal cricket follow close about to 2000. The country’s development policy began to pay off its credit when the Nepal Under-19 team finished eighth in the Under-19 World Cup. The senior side had their best performance to date later in the year when they reached the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy before losing to Hong Kong at Sharjah. The side however competed in the ICC trophy for the first time.the side then beat Germany and Gibraltar, but a loss to eventual runners-up Namibia prevented from progressing past the first round.

In 2002, Nepal was runners-up to the UAE in the ACC Trophy in Singapore and hosted the ACC Emerging Nations Tournament in 2003, winning easily against Bhutan and the Maldives. They won so comprehensively that they were not invited back to the tournament the next time it was played in 2005.

Nepal played first-class cricket for the first time in 2004, playing in the ICC Intercontinental Cup against the UAE and Malaysia. Nepali side beat Malaysia, but drew with the UAE, failing to reach the semi-final stage. Nepal finished third in the ACC Fast Track Nations Tournament during 2004, which qualified them for the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup,and finished 5th in the ACC Trophy, which qualified them for the 2005 ICC Trophy. Nepal finished third in this tournament after beating Qatar in a play-off, meaning that they did not qualify for the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland. It also beat the UAE and drew with Hong Kong in the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup, but missed out on qualification for the semi-finals by half a point.Nepal was runners-up to the UAE in the 2005 ACC Fast Track Nations Tournament.

In March 2006, Nepal played Namibia in Windhoek in a play-off match to decide the final team in the 2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup. Needing to win outright to qualify for the main tournament, the match was drawn after there was no play on the first day.Later in the year, Nepali side toured Pakistan, playing against the Pakistan Cricket Academy before playing in the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur. Nepal finished fourth in the tournament after losing to Afghanistan in a play-off. Nepal won the first ACC Premier League in 2006.

In May 2008, Nepal travelled to Jersey to play in Division Five of the World Cricket League. Although Nepal topped Group A after the group qualifying matches, the team lost their semi-final to Afghanistan and finished third overall after defeating the USA in a playoff. With only the top two from this tournament qualifying for Division Four in Tanzania later in the year, Nepal missed out on the chance to take it’s 2011 World Cup dream any further.Nepal won it’s first major tournament beating USA in the final of World Cricket League Division Five held at Kathmandu in February 2010.

The streak of modern day cricket started with establishment of professional Cricket academy in the country. Although some of the players had a informal practice sessions for the juniors where they helped them to improve their cricketing skills, learning cricket was never taken as a serious or professional manner until 2013 when the National Cricket Academy, NCA, was formally opened to guide emerging players and to provide continuous training facilities to the players. Similarly, from 2014 onwards a franchise based event comprising Twenty20, One Day and Two Day tournaments was initiated which has eventually managed to be one of the finest and the biggest cricketing event of the country.