Nepal gains cricket’s ODI status

- Adarsha Dhakal, Kathmandu

Mar 16, 2018-Kathmandu - Nepal marked its biggest accomplishment in cricket history on Thursday, securing the One-Day International status with a six-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea in the seventh place playoff semi-final under the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Harare, Zimbabwe.

At the Old Hararian cricket ground, besides a victory over PNG Nepal’s fate also banked on the result of another match between the Netherlands, and Hong Kong. For Nepal to secure one of the three ODI berths on offer, the Dutch, already an ODI side, would have to beat Hong Kong.

The day belonged to Nepal as Dipendra Singh Airee shaped team’s victory with an all-round performance—taking four wickets for 14 runs and scoring 50 unbeaten runs. And the Dutch helped Nepal’s cause, sweeping aside Hong Kong by 44 runs.

The results mean Nepal will retain the ODI and the Twenty20 International status for the next four years. Besides, the Nepali national team can now include on its calendar the InterContinental Cup, a four-day tournament between non-Test playing nations, and the World Cricket League Championship.

Skipper Paras Khadka was quick to celebrate the historic achievement. “Thank you everyone for the support... Just been years and years of toil, persistence, sacrifices, commitment and hard work. Finally WE BECOME An ODI nation,” Khadka wrote on his social network accounts. “Congratulations to everyone who has been part of Nepal cricket’s incredible journey!”

Thursday’s achievement could be a watershed for the country’s cricket as it offers opportunities for Nepal to lock horns with the elites of world cricket.

The ODI status for Nepal comes at a time when the country lacks top class infrastructure and proper domestic cricket structure. But the bigger worry is the country is still under suspension imposed by the International Cricket Council.

Former national team skipper Binod Das, also an Under-19 team coach, called it the biggest achievement, but he remains worried about situation at home.

“It rather leaves me scared because there is no one who can cash in on all these achievements,” Das told the Post, referring to the Twenty20 International status that Nepal had achieved following the team’s impressive performance

in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20. 

“We had the Twenty20 status but due to a poor cricket board, we failed to make the most of it. Now we have an ODI status, but there is no cricket board in place. In the absence of a proper decision-making body, the ODI status might make no sense,” added Das. According to Das, Nepal will now have more annual ICC funding—at least Rs70 million—under its cricket development programme.

“The ICC could release more funds if we could come up with attractive plans. It all depends on how we exploit this opoportunity. We can either follow the footsteps of Afghanistan or do nothing and become the next Kenya,” Das said, referring to Kenya’s poor showings after having featured in the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup in 2003.

“We may not be able to bring in Test giants like India, Australia, England or South Africa to Nepal at once. But if we plan for a bilateral ODI series against other Test teams like Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Ireland, Pakistan or Sri Lanka, the ICC can help us in terms of funding,” he said, adding that the latest feat would attract more sponsors in its wake. “For that to happen, we need a functional cricket board in place.”

Published: 16-03-2018 11:28

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