KATHMANDU: Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has been beset by controversies one after another in the ongoing Pepsi Standard Chartered National One-day Cricket Tournament.
While CAN had been facing criticisms for scheduling national tournament on rainy month of May, eliminating semifinals and providing sponsorships to only four regions among eight, another controversy erupted after the match between Nepal APF Club and Region No 4 (Bhairahawa) on Thursday.
The last match of group A had strategic value for the final.
Had the match been called off, undefeated APF would have been out of the tournament and Region No 7 Janakpur would have entered the final. During the match, dozens of APF personnel were on the ground to clear the water from the outfield. And, the captains of both sides decided to continue the game despite the wet ground. The win helped APF to book its place in the final quashing Janakpur´s hope.
Meanwhile, players and manager of the Janakpur team have claimed that rules were violated during the match. “Playing conditions were violated during the match. We sensed that the umpires were pressurized to conduct the match and CAN officials, who were shifting responsibility to one another, were reluctant to answer,” said Janakpur skipper Kumar Prasun.
“Why were APF personnel allowed to work on the ground? If they were there to help cricket, why didn´t they come to TU ground during other matches? If CAN had sought their help, why had it done so only for the last match?” said team manager Akash Pandey.
“APF could be more deserving to play final but our question is on the violation of system,” said Prasun.
Janakpur players have demanded an apology from CAN on the issue. “Unless and until CAN apologizes publicly, we´ll continue to protest on the ground and might even boycott the upcoming Twenty20 tournament,” said Prasun.
The players said that the playing condition of the Pulchowk Engineering Ground was worse than the TU Ground but the referees conducted the game while the match umpires at TU called off the match.
“The captains of Nepal Police Club and Baitadi were also ready to play but the match was called off at the TU Ground as the umpires there said that they would not repeat the mistake committed at the Engineering Ground,” claimed Prasun.
Team Manager Pandey also claimed that he received a threat on Friday morning in his hotel yard from unidentified men who had come on a motorbike after Janakpur raised objection on the issue.