Nepal Premier League(NPL) is the biggest Domestic Cricketing event in Nepal Cricket’s history-six teams comprising 18 players each including two foreign players spanning over 3 months and to be hosted in 5 different cities. NPL would have looked impossible a year back but with Nepal’s national team’s recent success and tireless effort from Amir Akthar got NPL cracking so soon that it will be inaugurated in just over a month in Dhanghadhi. Amir Akthar, head of Zohora International, the event management company of NPL, is nearly solely responsible for giving NPL its shape. Akthar was in Dhangadhi a week back where Cricnepal’s corresponded Yagya Raj Joshi talked with him.
When was the idea of NPL first conceived?
The plans organizing a tournament like NPL has been there for more than half a decade. If plans had been executed earlier we would have had several editions of the tournament already. Nevertheless with Cricket doing so well in recent time and people frenzy over Nepal’s success at International Level there could not have been a better time for launching a tournament like this.
How will NPL help in Nepal Cricket’s Growth?
NPL is the most anticipated domestic sporting event in Nepal right now. Nepal’s domestic Cricket has not given enough matches to young talents to prove themselves and NPL could be a proving ground for the players. Plus since they get to play more matches in different formats and environment it will improve their game as well. So we will get better pool of domestic players.
NPL is the first instance that a cricket tournament is being held at 5 different cities-we are hoping that this will help establish cricket in those cities as well. There are financial perks for players who are part of the tournament.
The decision of inaugurating the first edition of NPL has caught a lot of attention. Why Dhangadi when it could have been launched in the Capital?
I first visited Dhangadhi 3 years ago. And in those few days I spent here, seeing people’s overwhelming love for Cricket, I planned that one day I would organize big cricketing even here. Also, I have always been advocating for decentralization of the game. And CAN plus the sponsors were very positive when we explained that we wanted to inagurate NPL at Dhanghadi. But basically its people absolute love and devotion for Cricket at Dhanghadi that prompted us to this decision.
Are you happy with the preparations here?
I am not just satisfied but very proud about how briskly things concerning NPL is moving on here. Coming here and talking to people involved I have come to realized that there could not have been a better place to inaugurate NPL. We are planning for a iconic ceremony for inauguration the work for which is underway. We have visted both the grounds. There are still a few thing to be completed in Fapla but we are very happy about the layout and location of the ground in Fapla. I am hopeful that Fapla will be completed in 10-15 days The stories about Police, Army and the locals helping to complete the ground is quite inspiring. And this devotion is the main reason NPL is here and in few years time its likely that CAN’s National Tournament will be held here.
The 6 teams for NPL are almost ready, but many feel that some talented players missed out. Are the doors of NPL closed for them?
No, I am quite aware of that fact. Many of them have not got enough exposure to prove themselves for players like that we will soon be launching “open trials”. We are planning to pick 18 players(3 each in one team) from the open trials. Providing opportunity to players is the NPL’s major purpose.
The six teams have 6 corporate sponsors. How does NPL serve the corporate’s cause?
The six corporate’ sponsorship is based solely on their love for the game. Promoting cricket and cricket players will make their company rather popular among the cricket fans. That’s it! They are involved with NPL because they want to see cricket do good in Nepal.
How important is for Cricket cities outside Kathmandu to get to host event like NPL?
The backbone of any sports are its players.Its important that you grow this pool so that you more options and you chose the best among them. I personally feel that more tournaments like NPL have to be hosted outside the Kathmandu Valley. There are lot of issues that turn up when organizing a tournament outside the valley like lack of media coverage-local media will then have a bigger role to play it should be an opportunity for them.