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ICC calling

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

PIC: International Cricket Council (ICC)

Sahina Shrestha

After securing a place in the upcoming ICC World Cricket League Championship, Nepal now sees urgency to improve its cricket infrastructure and domestic league.

After the ICC decided to allow Afghanistan and Ireland to play qualifying matches for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019, Nepal’s place was confirmed in the Championship scheduled to begin in mid 2015.

A place in the Championship means that Nepal may have to play several 50-over home and away matches. But, with hardly any international stadium in place, Nepal seems ill-equipped in hosting international teams. Mulpani’s stadium is still under construction and the ground at Kritipur can hardly be called an international cricket stadium.

So, will Nepal get what it requires to play in the Championship?

Bhawana Ghimire, CEO of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), says, “We will need at least two grounds of international standard. Building them in such a short span of time isn’t possible. However, we can upgrade the existing ones at Kritipur and Pulchok. Even the one in Pokhara is a good option.”

Nepal also needs a vibrant domestic cricket league to help new talents emerge for the national side. With only a handful of domestic tournaments, players who are not in the national team hardly play six games in a season. It narrows the selection pool for the national team.

Ghimire says they are working on domestic setup and fixtures and structures will be announced within 15 days.

Nepal’s dream of qualifying for the Championship had previously come to a halt after finishing fourth in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2. Although the national side’s bowling earned rave reviews, Nepal’s batting order struggled with lackluster performance during the Division 2 League.

Nepal will now join Hong Kong, Namibia, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates in the two-year competition. Kenya, which finished third in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2, too, will be competing in the Championship.

“It isn’t a gift,” said Binod Das, assistant coach of Nepal’s national cricket team.”We got through because we played well against teams like Netherlands and Canada.”

According to Das, preparations for the Championship will kick off as soon as its schedule is out. “We need to focus on all three areas (batting, bowling and fielding) if we are to perform well in the Championship,” said Das.

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