In a press conference following Nepal’s defeat to Zimbabwe by 8 wickets in the opening match of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, Monty Desai, the head coach of the Nepal cricket team, shared his thoughts on the game and provided insights into his team’s performance.
Desai began by acknowledging that Nepal had approached the match with the target of scoring between 280 and 290 runs. He expressed satisfaction with the outstanding performance of the team’s openers, Kushal Bhurtel and Aasif Sheikh, who established a solid foundation with their partnership of over 170 runs. However, he admitted that Zimbabwe’s experienced duo of Richard Ngarava & Blessing Muzarabani
bowled skillfully, causing Nepal to fall short of their target by approximately 15 to 20 runs.
Despite the defeat, Desai remained optimistic and highlighted the positive aspects of Nepal’s display on the field. He praised the hunger and determination exhibited by his players, emphasizing their eagerness to make the most of the opportunity presented to them in the World Cup Qualifiers. Desai expressed pride in the team’s fighting spirit throughout the match, stating, “I think overall the way they fought today, even on the field, I am very proud of them.”
Regarding the fielding lapses that occurred during the game, Desai urged his players to stay calm and have faith in their abilities. He emphasized that his coaching approach involved fostering healthy and honest conversations with each player, understanding their individual backgrounds and personalities. Desai revealed that he had spent considerable time working with the team members individually and conducting workshops to ensure a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities within the team. He stated, “The only way to fix it is to stay calm, believe in them, and they have done it before.”
While acknowledging the need for improvement in certain areas, Desai highlighted the importance of learning from this experience and focusing on winning crucial moments in future matches. He expressed confidence in the abilities of Sandeep Lamichhane, who has proven himself capable of taking wickets. Desai attributed Zimbabwe’s success to their experienced batsmen, who effectively capitalized on the favorable conditions presented by the flat pitch. He explained, “We missed out on getting that breakthrough, but having said that, again, the wicket was flat and we came across a team which had two batters who had plenty of experience.”
As Nepal reflects on the match, the coaching staff and players plan to analyze the critical moments and work on rectifying any shortcomings. Desai assured the media that his team would take the lessons learned from this game and apply them to the upcoming matches in the tournament. Desai concluded, “We’ll take it with the experience of this game and see how it goes next game.”
The defeat against Zimbabwe serves as a valuable learning experience for Nepal as they continue their journey in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers. With the guidance of Monty Desai and their collective determination, the Nepalese team remains focused on bouncing back and making a mark in the remainder of the tournament.