ACC Development Officer for Nepal Rumesh Ratnayake is in Nepal helping to prepare the national squad for the forthcoming World Twenty20 Qualifier. Working closely with national coach Pubudu Dassanayake and alongside batting consultant Chris Harris of Cricket Victoria, Rumesh is in for ten days doing what he can to give Nepal the best possible chance to finish in the top six of the sixteen-nation Qualifier and thus win through to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next March. “Preparation has been fantastic,” says the Sri Lankan fast-bowling specialist.
“The boys are looking so sharp! We watched a fielding drills session, Chris and I yesterday and he was saying it’s better than anything he’s seen with the Melbourne Renegades. That’s a big call,” says Rumesh. Nepal have always been known for their fielding prowess, the ambidextrous Gyanendra Malla particularly outstanding (several examples of his prowess are available here), virtues magnified in Twenty20s.
“The Cricket Association of Nepal have been giving a fair amount of support to the team. In terms of executing the kind of Action Plan we’d like it’s not all there but they’ve done a lot and finally have made links with Delhi, where the team will be touring for two weeks before Dubai,” says the ACC Development Officer who has been working with Nepal for a dozen years already.
Rumesh has been working with the fast-bowlers in particular and they’re aware of what they should be doing with every ball in terms of reading the batsmen and executing certain kinds of deliveries. Even though Nepal lack an outright pace-bowler, Rumesh says “the players have been watching a lot of cricket from India on TV, and they’re picking up all kinds of tactical tips better awareness of what works in each situation.” Binod Das is continuing to work with the pool of fast-bowlers whenever Rumesh is not in Nepal.
Where the real improvement has been apparent is in the batsmen. “The batsmen look more mature compared to what they were before the ACC Emerging Teams Cup in Singapore and a lot of that is due to the practise they’ve been able to have outside of the rainy season. Nepal cricket’s going to get a big hand up if they ever get indoor facilities and that’s a gap CAN need to fill as soon as possible,” says Rumesh. “A bit of outside-the-box thinking will do wonders,” he concluded.
Rumesh is also ACC Development Officer for Hong Kong who are currently in Sydney on a preparatory tour for the Twenty20 Qualifier themselves. After the UAE event, Hong Kong and Nepal along with UAE will be in New Zealand in January for the 50-over World Cup Qualifier, with Nepal preparing in Australia for it.
First published in asiancricket.org on 10th August