Weather draws the first attention when cricket is played in England. Is the sun scheduled to get out, or the clouds designed to express and spray on the day? No Rain,first issue addressed. Nepal cricket team vs MCC. I was focused to figure the manner in which Nepal batter would plan their inning, and to see what nature of shot they will unleash. To put in plain terms, I am always worried about the loud shot they decide to play, and good nature shot they unthink about. To add to this, Roy Dias 1980s defensive spree on decent,unlike 80s wicket, stagnates this writer into duress.
Notification I receive reads -this is the wicket Pakistan and England played the first test where Misbha-ul-haq mastered his hundred in the first inning, Yashir shah triggered English batting collapse, Ashad Safiq engineered the final touches with tight and elegant half century, where Rahat ali in England second inning dismissed in his roaring first spell three top England batters for effectively no score.
In that test match itself wicket was slow. Nepal team playing on the exact surface meant this won’t be a typical English wicket. Nonetheless, the match set to be played with red ball, it was bound to offer movement and extra skid with hard new cherry for the first ten over.
I gather Nepal won the toss and decided to bat first.
The opening pair- Gyanendra Malla and Anil Mandel enter to negotiate the opening MCC bowlers. Early overs and ball is deviating with extra pace offered by the hard shiny ball. Meanwhile, Anil gets out typically in a manner a sub-continent batter not fully executing plans loses his wicket. Looking to close his wrist to away moving quick ball Anil gets a leading edge which the bowler grabs in the follow through. Such leading edges are rare in subcontinent wicket known for lack of deviation and slowness. In England these are common as stagnant brown clouds.
From the beginning Sharad looks on the mission to show “someone” or the cricket fraternity that Nepal batters can play shot. To be on this mission in such wicket is to misread the surface and expose the team to lose the match. At lords a number three batter ill-affords to play with hard bottom hand in order to show intent and talent of driving the ball. This was a 230-240 wicket. Sharad was making it a 260-270. The script of tragic flaw was flowing in his veins. No sooner he lost his leg stump while strongly pushing the ball for an attempted four.
Sharad is a proven cool headed batter who in the past has played as per the surface and keeping possible target in mind. Paras replacing him is known to lose wicket on average balls(not boundary balls) in his “boundary” pursuit. A “boundary” personality is least suited for Lords on an effectively fifth day pitch. People like Mishab( not haffez), Cook(not Hales), Asad Safiq who are “talented” in playing “long” inning take their team to a concrete path to victory in such surface. Whatever Paras’s trait, he was in to bat.
Irrespective of surface Paras looked all set to play his “natural” game which only means seeing glory in boundary not in single. After hitting first six of inning soon in another attempted six, he mistimed the shot to leave the team under pressure with four down with around 100 on board. From here team could get all out for 200. Displaying routine body language he looked more thoughtful and academic that means less jumpy and excited after he was dismissed. Sharad and Paras threw their wicket away, Gyanu was unlucky in that the ball bounced an extra little and he lifted a catch to the bowler. The first wicket of Anil was a mark of a casual shot for an opener at Lords. Out of four wicket down, three occurred by regular and predictable mistakes by batters which is an established script of Nepal batting. Established script- bowler do not take wicket with sharp delivery, but batters supply the wicket in their exaggerated and mistaken pursuit of boundary.
Back of Paras meant Sagar and Raju batting in the middle. Jitters seen in batters with both playing with an angle bat at score of 110-4 meant my curiosity was culled by poor definition of “natural game” “playing one’s game freely” or “attacking cricket” by Paras and Sharad today. In previous matches other players and coaching staff have also been author of such definition which are not expanded and explained sufficiently. Thus they have remained slogan.
In the end, except one MCC batter “architecting” a hundred and the rest playing poor, and Nepal bowlers bowling well while MCC’s selecting amateurish bowlers meant Nepal managed to sneak a victory. I remember Paras once said if he was not a cricketer he would become an “architecture.” For now he should architect ways to score hundred and select right players for number 5, 6, 7 position.
Overall nice to be on the winning sides at Lords with 5000 people watching the game on the ground and thousands following from multiple location. MCC being a half-cooked team can be overlooked for now. We can be happy for victory at lords. Not so for the quality of batting on the display on the surface game was played. In addition, this was not a 50 over pitch, this damaged the prospect of quality cricket.
A fact remains, Nepal batters are loose-in-talent in terms of scoring a 50 or 100. They get “themselves” out looking to hit a “romantic” boundary. This ailment was in exposure here again. They think singles as boring as load-shedding tampered day, and boundary as romantic, positive, attacking, natural, and a true way of expressing oneself. For Nepal’s batting failure, slow pitch cannot be justified. Especially Paras and sharad could have decided to jump around for boundary only “after” they had scored a 50. This would have expressed responsibility and maturity, not amateurish excitement. The choice of multiple shot from senior Nepal batters in the past and today have shown they have no creative fear of being dropped from the squad irrespective of score they make.
Overall nice to be on the winning side at Lords, and spinners picking wicket with very good help from the wicket and half-cooked MCC batting. This can be a average reason to be happy, and I hope cricket viewers take advantage of this in midst of load-shedding tempered days in the middle of monsoon, and not that attractive social, development and political news hovering around in addition to disgracing neglect of Dr. KC in dire health situation. Not to forget very nearly Nepal batting nearly made many viewers upset. I have already anti-doted myself for possible batting failure from multiple experiences of multiple poor shots because single are not viewed as positive, natural, attractive, glorious while boundary glorified as if (Royal) gold crown. To conclude, Good day for associate cricket and Nepal cricket, excitement for already cheering fans, not a good pitch for 50 over match, and repetition of previous batting mistakes, a pleasant and memorable victory