Hope and expectation – two words which have always been part of Nepal, the country. We always hope, we always expect – something, anything, everything. From the hope of seeing a stable governance to expecting decent economic growth, from a faint hope of seeing our players performing well in the Olympics to expecting national cricket team to beat the Netherlands in their own turf – we have it all. So, this should not come as a surprise to anyone that this tour is a part of the evergreen “hope” phenomenon of Nepal. However, it has a meaning beyond that as well.
Our cricket today lies as one of the angle of a complex triangle – where other two angles represent stories of two extremes. On one hand, we see our cricket crippled by an internal chaos with International Cricket Committee (ICC) suspending all forms of cricket associations in Nepal and the issues still a subject matter of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. On other hand, there are clear and unclear opportunities like never before. Ever since ICC and its de-facto personnel started realizing Nepal as a potential new market, our cricket has been presented opportunities, some deserved and some less so, some which have already materialized and some which are on their way.
As murky and confusing as it may sound Nepal’s performances in the Netherlands may eventually matter more than the final World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) standings. Its an open secret that ICC wants some sort of inroads into the Nepali cricket market and good enough performances in the Netherlands could actually seal the deal. Just imagine, Nepal somehow manage a 2-0 result against the Dutch outfit and make a quick surge into the top half of the standings, an ODI match in TU Ground could happen much earlier than anyone’s guess.
Alas! There is something called dream and there is another thing called reality. Nepali team is reaching Netherlands without a regular coach with the then assistant coach under Pubudu Dassanayke, Jagat Tamata, handling matters for the time being. We have a cricket administration comprising of a suspended “elected” committee, a suspended ad-hoc committee and a “former” CEO whose resignation is not yet accepted as seemingly there is no-one authorized for it. The golden generation of cricketers is slowly getting into the wrong side of the 30’s. We haven’t seen a new eye catching and consistent batsman for a while. We haven’t had a domestic tournament for more than 18 months now. The dream of Mulpani Ground has stayed a dream for over a decade.
Amidst all these dark cloud, there is a silver lining. A ray of hope that something can still be done and it, without a doubt, should start from Netherlands. Seaming conditions, foreign land, tall and quick pacers, seemingly everything is stacked against Nepali team. But in both the country and the national team, we have a history of pulling up miracles when the backs are up against the walls; a decent performance in Netherlands cannot be written off, at least not as of now. Keeping aside abstract and non-concrete assumptions, the matches in Netherlands will go a long way in shaping up the WCLC table. Nepal currently has only 4 points from 6 matches and with relatively easier fixtures after this tour, some points here will definitely prove vital going forward.
Nepali cricket today lies on the crossroads, with distinct two ways visible – one into greater heights of playing ODI matches and being an integral part of the future cricket economy and another entering into a terminal decline from where redemption would be impossible. Now is the time for the choice.