Sports

Too many questions remain unanswered as tournament starts

  • Asian Club Premier League T20
- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu
The tournament features six franchises—Nepal Storms, Indian Stars, Sri Lankan Lions, Bangladesh Tigers, Dubai Warriors and Afghanistan Bulls

Jun 20, 2017-The Asian Club Premier League (ACPL) Twenty20, which brings together players from the continent’s top cricketing countries, kicked off on Monday amidst circumstances where Nepal’s top cricketers are giving a no-show and the entire cricket fraternity is left with a partial knowledge about the tournament.

Ultimate Sports Management, a Chandigarh-based sports management company, has brought the tournament in Nepal under the flagship of Cricket Council of India which is not associated with any regional or global governing body.

The tournament features six franchises—Nepal Storms, Indian Stars, Sri Lankan Lions, Bangladesh Tigers, Dubai Warriors and Afghanistan Bulls.

However, the organisers have failed to produce the owners of the franchises except for giving their names. The auction was telecast live on Sony Six—India’s leading sports channel.

According to ACP Chairman RS Dandiwal, Matthew Lim, who runs Encore Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, is the owner of Nepal Storms.

The tournament ran into controversy the day it was unveiled at a posh hotel in the Capital after it was learnt that national cricketers were neither part of the event nor they were aware of it.

The big names of Nepali cricket have questioned the legitimacy of the organisers, saying that the tournament was being organised in a non-transparent way.

However, Dandiwal had said the organisers “can produce all the papers and answers about the tournament”.

National Sports Council (NSC) Member Secretary Keshav Bista claims to have taken advantage of “Nepal’s climate” which offers best venue for sporting events. “This is a tournament which can help boost sports tourism. It can also give our cricketers a perfect platform to rub shoulders with international cricketers,” said Bista, who seems to have not given a hoot to the organisers and their background.

“Our job was to give them the ground and other things are not related to us. They are a private organisation and have their own rules,” he said.

Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan and former Pakistani cricketers Rana Naved Ul Hasan and Imran Nazir are among the big names associated with the ACPL. The organisers have also claimed to bring in former Australian spinner Stuart McGill, South African Justin Kemp, Rusty Theron and Zimbabwean Charles Coventry, but none has shown up so far.

The obscured status of ACPL organisers and the decision of the NSC to let the tournament happen in Nepal, however, are not the only reasons that have stoked controversy.

Soon after it was learnt that national stars were not going to be a part of the ACPL, a majority of them and few other stakeholders expressed their ignorance about the tournament.

The national cricketers said they came to know about the tournament only after it was launched.

After the auction, Nepali skipper Paras Khadka had issued a statement, questioning the legitimacy of the tournament. The whole process is non-transparent and unclear, he had said. He had expressed his ignorance about the organisers as well the tournament they were bringing in to Nepal.

But Bhupendra Thapa, one of the four cricketers sold to Nepal Storms, said: “I had informed national team’s senior players about six months ago. They said they don’t have sufficient information, so I decided to register myself for the event,” said Thapa.

National team head coach Jagat Tamatta, who had the knowledge of the tournament, had held several meetings with the organisers in the presence of Bista.

“I had asked them to come up with the approval of the International Cricket Council or Asian Cricket Council,” said Tamatta of the ACPL, which was earlier named APL.

Published: 20-06-2017 08:18

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