When Nepal went into the ICC World Twnety20 Qualifiers they were the bottom most seeded teams. All the teams were had played Div 3 or above, Nepal had the highest as Div 4. Nepal was considered a better team in the ODI format and were not expected to make much impact in the T20 format
But the team under the new Dynamic coach Pubudu Dassanayke surely exceeded all the expectation. To start with they came 7th in the tournament and in the process defeated teams like former World Cup semi finalists Kenya, Former World Cup team Bermuda, along with Div 2 teams PNG, HK and Div 3 (Now 4) team Denmark.
The team had many positives from the tournament and some before them. Before the tournament there were some reshuffle's in CAN. Elections also took place. Then a small step towards Central Contracts was taken. A stipend of 5000 Rs was started for all the players.
On the field the batting showed some promise. Batsman were able to have the confidence to try some new shots. The Spin bowling always a strength came in full strength through Shakti Gauchan. The team could be seen challenging the bigger names like Canada.
Having said all that the tournament also exposed some areas where it needs to address them very seriously if it wishes to be along the likes of Afghanistan and Ireland.
|Nepal surely need a match winner like Hamid Hassan|
1. Pacers (Fast Bowling)
The best teams in the tournament had some of the best pacers be it Dawlat Zadran the sensational pacer of Afghanistan or be it Boyd Rankin of Ireland. The best test teams have always have had a some form of Battery of Pacers, be it Bret Lee, McGrath or Allan Donald or Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar.
Indians who are not known to have the best Pace Battery but always have a Pacer who is a match winner. Zaheer Khan was critical for India and helped them win the World Cup.
Presently Nepal does not have a quality pace attack and without them it would struggle. This is an area that is ultra critical to Nepal and their cricket future. The coach has already taken an effort where he went with a speed gun but alas not much results. Not to be demoralized with the same, the management simply needs to go on a national wide hunt of a pacer. They need to get some young, raw talent and develop him for the future. If you know some one share about him and help your national team
Keeping the 2015 World Cup in sight this effort should start immediately without any delay
The way team played and gave against Netherlands and Canada was a case of pressure taking over the team and not because they were inferior to these teams. The team did play some practice matches against local clubs in Delhi and sources tell that CAN was not even ready for that. They did not much hopes from the team and want to "waste" money on the effort
Exposure plays critical role in building the team temperament and let's the captain and coach know much more about the players. Taking cue from my old times, when I played cricket after a long time I was rusty. The rustiness was over, but playing cricket inside my gully team brought saturation in the learning curve. It was when we played more matches against other teams that we could explore our own strengths and weakness and how to overcome the X factor
Similarly Nepal team playing closed camps will saturate. Many players have openly stated the need for the same. If the team had got to be a part of Ranji in 2003-4 then it could have been on the lines of Bangladesh. That oppurtunity though lost, and letting past be the past the management should give team more exposure.
The exposure can be either playing the domestic league either in India or Sri Lanka. It could also mean inviting other Associate team like Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE to come and play matches in all 3 forms. The team could also tour other countries where it can get exposure to different conditions.
This would need CAN to get out of it's rusty set up and think for the future and be more assertive in contacting more boards. Ireland have been very aggressive on this aspect and it has helped them over time. Such was the impact that team has performed really well, but also even though Ireland suffered one of the worst case of European Crisis, the team never lost a sponsor.
This would be very critical times for the Nepal team. The coach has been making the right impact, but he surely needs help from the Board on the above 2 factors. The coach get that then the team surely can knock the doors of the top 10 nations. Best of luck