By Sushil Thapa, Fairfax, VA
All eyes will be on the national cricket team of Nepal when the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers gets underway in the United Arab Emirates,Friday.
Nepal along with fifteen countries will duke it out for the six available spots to cement their place in the final round of the 2014 competition in Bangladesh. The fifteen day sporting spectacle is expected to be fiercely competitive and beguiling.
The 16 teams in the competition have been divided into two groups. Group B features Nepal, Afghanistan, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Bermuda, Kenya and Denmark.
Likewise, Group A consists of Ireland, Canada, Namibia, United Arab Emirtaes, United States of America, Uganda, Hong Kong and Italy.
Indeed, this is a huge, huge opportunity for our cricketers to bask in glory and show the world that Nepal is a highly competitive cricket team.
Admittedly, the championship is very challenging for Team Nepal and is by no means an easy task. Obviously, they have to perform at their very best for the desired result.
Most importantly, players must instill a high performance mindset, coupled with a high degree of consistency. Undoubtedly, it is completely doable,and they are capable of doing. I feel they stand an excellent chance of getting through to the final stage.
Having said that, at best players must step up and remain razor focused on winning every game in the round robin format. They must learn from their mistakes and rectify it. They cannot afford to squander this opportunity.
Also there is clearly no room for complacency if they hope to fulfill the long cherished dream of playing in the world cup.
Nepal takes on familiar opponents against whom they have enjoyed success in the past. Since they know their strengths and weaknesses, they must strategize their approach and game plan accordingly.
Certainly, they are no pushovers and must be given respect, attention and taken very seriously. Team Nepal is an exciting blend of experience and young talent. The batting line-up appears sound. while there is enough depth in the bowling department.
However, some of the leading batsmen have struggled and not made runs lately. They need to find form before it is too late. Captain Paras Khadka has to lead by example both on and off the field. His form is definitely good news for the team.
Similarly, inexperienced youngsters have a chance to shine and must rise to the occasion. A winning start against Denmark is very important for Nepal from a psychological standpoint.
After all is said and done, it comes down to concerted effort, hard work, dedication and an enduring commitment to excellence.
Coach Pubudu Dasanayake team has shown a lot of promise lately. Hopefully they keep the momentum going and produce decisive results.
Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) did a good job of preparing the team for the competition. The Delhi tour undertaken by the national team as part of the preparation for the Twenty20 qualifiers proved highly productive, and especially helped young players gain valuable exposure.
Team Nepal’s success over the United Arab Emirates and loss to the United States in warm –up matches clearly indicates that there is more effort and commitment needed on part of players.
Sushil Thapa is a keen follower of Nepali Cricket and regular columnist at Cricnepal.com