Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nepali cricket has come a long way

With your permission, let me take you back to the early 1990's.

On a misty Saturday morning arriving at the open grounds of Tudikhel in the heart of Kathmandu, one could easily find the aspirants for the British, Indian or Nepali armies running and practicing for their trials, one would find elderly people by the dozens talking their morning stroll and easily outnumbering these two groups would be hundreds of boys, ranging from 10-year-olds to men well in their 40's playing numerous spirited games of football (soccer).

In the midst of these, you would also find the odd group of boys meticulously flattening the ground with the soles of their feet, counting twenty-two yards and sticking strange wooden pegs into the ground.

A band of such boys, with me included, would be doing this religiously every Saturday morning. Luckily for us, we had a small patch of ground that was next to a tree, a tree I suppose doesn't make it very well as an obstacle for football games so this patch, I suppose was ignored. On the other hand, in cricket, having a tree nearby was very welcome, it offered shade in the largely open and flat ground.

Often, the three or four such bands of boys as ours would struggle to find enough people to make the eleven, let alone two teams to play within their group. And thus, games of one team against the other was very common, at times, you would find the odd single person just walking around with a kit bag -- these would be the freelancers...

...The games were fun, and most often the prize was the losing team's cricket ball. The best of the matches would be fiercely fought over the losing team buying the each member of the victors' team a bottle of coke.

A kind of comradery would build among all the boys who would play. There was a time when I would remember just about everyone who played cricket in that open field. There may have been a hundred at the most.

And one thing that must be mentioned: when this group of twenty-two playing together, we would often find the elderly who would be strolling around or the football players running around, or the folks training for the army trails coming to us and asking -- what kind of a game is this? And we would patiently explain. For some reason, I tended to know the most rules of the game. Once I remember explaining to someone how a batsman is judged out leg-before.

Early 90's is now almost quarter of a century away and in this time, I am proud to say that Cricket in Nepal and Nepali Cricket has come a long way.

Tweets after Nepal v Bangladesh game

Nepal at the ICC World T20 (part 2)

Nepal at the ICC World T20 (part 1)