By Sushil Thapa, Faifax, VA
For the second straight year Nepali cricketers barely fell short of crowning themselves champions, following their narrow loss to Malaysia in the recently concluded ACC Under-16 Elite Cup cricket tournament held in Malaysia.
The Malaysians not only avenged their defeat in the league stage, but upset the heavily favored opposition by a wicket in a thrilling final to lift the trophy.
The home team bowlers’ performed magnificently to restrict Nepal to a paltry score. It was an exhibition of lethargic and shaky batting by the side that had totally dominated the proceedings prior to the final.
Apparently it was a huge missed opportunity for Nepal to shine. By the way, this is the only ACC age group championship that has eluded us.
The coach sportingly contributed his side’s defeat to inept batting and batters inability to commit themselves and succumbing to poor shots. Despite a decent start the batsmen failure to make hay made a world of difference ultimately.
On the other hand, our bowlers had a very good outing and were dominant throughout the championship. In the final they bowled their hearts out and came very close to deliver in what could have been a famous victory.
All in all, it was a fantastic and consistent exhibition of bowling by the lads. They deserve an extra round of applause for their wholehearted effort.
The final outcome, undoubtedly, was a big disappointment for the colts that were confident of wrapping up the competition on a high note. The seemingly effortless manner in which they progressed to the final convinced us that they were unbeatable.
I believed so. Let us remind ourselves that they maintained a clean slate by wining all their matches on their way to the final.
The youngsters dished out a steady and concerted effort to remain at the top. They combined individual brilliance, consistency and effective team work.
It would have been a remarkable achievement had they prevailed in the final. Never mind. Let us accept the result. We got to be proud of the boys who put in a tireless and energetic performance.
The second place finish is commendable and creditable, and the young Turks’ endeavor has to be appreciated from the core of our hearts. What is absolutely clear is that we have a highly talented young generation of cricketers who are capable of delivering much more than what they have.
The overwhelming success rate these cricketers have experienced in international competitions (age group), over the years, underlines their potential to strike it rich. The matter of fact is that these athletes have worked around the clock under very challenging circumstances to reach where they are today.
They are committed, ambitious, enthusiastic, passionate, and at the same they are willing to undertake whatsoever it takes to enhance their career. The big question is: Does it really matter?
The bitter truth is, not much. I might have sounded a little bit like a pessimist. The Truth is the Truth. I say this because there is very little institutional support for cricketers and the current state of Nepali cricket is far from congenial in terms of infrastructure, resources and funds.
Further, the frequent intervention by political operatives in the management and administration has destabilized Cricket Association of Nepal to the point where they are unable to function effectively.
I don’t see how we can grow as a cricketing nation professionally in today’s highly uncertain climate. All these years, we have wasted so much talent. What a shame. I feel terribly sorry for our cricketers whose future is in a state of uncertainty.
Regardless of the situation, spirit undaunted the boys continue to play enthusiastically and devotedly, hoping that things would change for good. Bravo!