Nepal set for historic game

  • Nepal-Netherlands ODI Series
- Ritesh Rijal, Kathmandu

Aug 1, 2018-

Having earned the coveted One-Day International status early this year, Nepal will join the elite group of nations when they take on the hosts the Netherlands in the first of the two-match limited over series in Amstelveen on Wednesday.

The status offers Nepal—at least in theory—a chance to play against top teams like India, Australia, South Africa and Pakistan.

Nepal finished eighth in the 10-team ICC World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe in March to secure one of the two berths for the ODI status for four years. The Netherlands grabbed the other berth as the ODI nations expanded to 16 teams.

Cricket is one of the oldest sports discipline officially registered at the governing body of sports in Nepal—the National Sports Council—71 years ago. However, Nepal’s journey to the ODI club has been arduous. The International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced a new system in 2007. This move opens the door for Associate members like Nepal to participate in World Cups ODIs, and hopefully Tests.

“We always wanted to reach this level, but the challenge is to keep on growing. Eight years ago, we were playing in ICC World Cricket League Division Five, and now we are among the top 16 nations in the world, with ODI status guaranteed for the next four years,” the ICC website quoted Nepal captain Paras Khadka on Monday.

Nepal and Afghanistan entered the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) at the bottom of the qualifying structure in 2008 - the Division 5.

While Afghanistan keep climbing up the WCL structure to Division 1 and thereby earning Twenty20, ODI and recently Test status, it took Nepal another five years just to have a shot at qualifying for the 50-over World Cup. Nepal won the promotion to Division 2 by winning the Division 3 tournament in 2013. The achievement earned Nepal a berth in the 2014 World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand, but Nepal finished ninth and was despatched back to Division 3.

Afghanistan beat Nepal by earning Test status this year. India thrashed them by an innings and 262 runs within two days on their debut, highlighting the huge gap that exists between Associate and full members.

Although Nepal gained the Division 2 status in 2014, the team has swung between Divisions 2 and 3 because of inconsistent performances. Their best run being the qualification to the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) for the 2015-2017 cycle. The WCLC is the top division of the World Cricket League (WCL), a One Day International cricket competition for national teams with Associate or Affiliate status. It forms part of the qualification process for the Cricket World Cup.

Nepal made its foray into the international cricket in 1996, the same year the ICC granted them the Associate member status with a game against Bangladesh during the ACC Trophy in Malaysia.

Bangladesh have since long established themselves in the Tests. Nepal are only just taking small steps in the competitive cauldron of world cricket dominated by India, South Africa and Australia, the top three teams in ICC Test rankings.

Kantipur Television (KTV) will broadcast both the matches live 2.15pm onwards

Published: 01-08-2018 08:10

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