Fairfax – The national cricket team of Nepal has left fans high and dry, following the latest international tournament debacle in Ireland and Scotland.
It was difficult for fans to digest the team’s dismal performance, one after another. Never in their wildest imagination would they have thought that they would underperform miserably.
The setback is a true reflection of the team’s current form. In both tournaments, it was an epic case of mediocrity and struggle. They never found their groove and ultimately fell way short of the expectations.
The team lacked the competitive edge and desire to win, and had to pay dearly for committing too many mistakes and repeating the same mistakes over and over.
To add, players did not appear to be in a positive frame of mind and in the best shape physically.
What is also very clear is that, poor leadership, lack of commitment by the players, questionable planning and strategy attributed to the team’s downfall.
Above all else, the batting, which was a complete disaster, remains the biggest problem and concern for the team management. Evidently the mainstay of the batting line-up was thin, frail and fragile throughout the competitions.
The batters faltered, time and time again and never got the scoreboard moving. What we witnessed was abjectly pathetic performance, be it from the openers or middle order batsmen.
A lot was expected from experienced skipper Paras Khadka and Gyanendra Malla, upon whom the team relied heavily for runs, but, disappointingly, they also failed with the bat when it mattered most.
I do not want to get into the technicalities because I am not an expert, but I will say though, our batsmen have technical faults in their batting, which needs to be addressed and resolved.
Additionally, they did not have the mental strength and confidence in their ability to perform. On the other hand, the batsmen’s failure put bowlers constantly under tremendous pressure for the most part, however, they did a fairly good job by performing to their usual standards.
Likewise, the fielding lacked zip and was sloppy at times. It could have been much better.
With cricket getting increasingly competitive and highly challenging, Team Nepal cannot afford to play like what they did in the last two competitions., if they are dead serious about making further foray into international cricket.
Next time when the national team embarks upon another international challenge, there is absolutely no room for another lackluster performance. Otherwise, the team will continue on its downward path.
There is an urgent need for the team to improve its batting performance and get the batting order right. Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) must look for ways to improve the batting standards, which has been Nepal’s Achilles’ heel for a long period of time.
The over-reliance on captain Khadka and his deputy Malla for runs just proves how shallow Nepal’s batting line up is.
Keeping in mind the team’s packed playing schedule, it is imperative that prompt action is taken to address the batting problems.
No doubt, the current squad is loaded with batting talents, but they have not quite been able to make an impression and mightily struggled with consistency.
A short- term fix to the batting woes is to have a batting coach and provide adequate international exposure to batsmen.
The emergence of Anil Mandal and Siddhant Lohani is a silver lining amid disappointing ICC tournaments in Ireland and Scotland. They have the batting ability and are great prospects.
Also the team boasts young crop of highly talented, promising cricketers in the likes of Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Raju Pulami and many more who have the potential to become the next faces of Nepal cricket.
Given the sorry state of Nepali cricket, players continue to face big challenges on a regular basis. Despite all odds, they have achieved almost everything through their commitment and dedication.
The pathetic standard of domestic cricket, coupled with lack of infrastructure has largely hindered the development of cricket.
First and foremost, the blame squarely lies with the politicalized, corrupt dysfunctional CAN, which has long been more like a political entity. The politics in the cricket body has reached such a level that Nepali cricket is going nowhere.
When all’s said and done, CAN holds key to Nepali cricket future. The big question is, will the cricket association ever show serious desire to assume responsibilities?