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In The International Spotlight…Nepal Cricket

Posted by wildkiwi25 on December 11, 2008

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The Nepal national cricket team is the team that represents the country of Nepal in international cricket matches. They have been an associate member of the International Cricket Council since 1996, having previously been an affiliate member since 1988.

They have been participating in international matches since 1996, including every ACC Trophy tournament, the 2001 ICC Trophy and two ICC Intercontinental Cups.

History and beginnings:
Cricket was introduced to Nepal by the ruling Rana dynasty when they returned from studies in England and India in the 1920s, though the game was kept very much for themselves and the other elite. The Cricket Association of Nepal was formed in 1946 to promote cricket amongst the aristocracy.

When King Tribhuvan overthrew the Rana family in 1951, cricket began to spread to the rest of the population. A team of Nepali players visited India in 1954, and in 1961 the Cricket Association of Nepal became part of the National Sports Council, to attempt to promote cricket in the whole of Nepal, though this tended to be limited to Kathmandu until the 1980s.

Improvements to the communication and transport infrastructures in Nepal allowed the game to expand outside Kathmandu in the 1980s and Nepal became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 1988. A major development programme was begun in the early 1990s, with regional and district tournaments established and cricket being promoted in schools.

The interest in cricket increased quickly, and demand to play was such that teams in tournaments had to be restricted until more facilities were built in the mid 1990s. Nepal became an associate member of the International Cricket Council in 1996, which was the year the national side played for the first time, in the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur, in which Nepal finished fourth out of six teams in their first round group, beating Brunei and Japan.

The facilities in Nepal had improved enough by 1998 to allow them to host that year’s ACC Trophy at grounds in Lalitpur, Kirtipur (at Tribhuvan University) and Kathmandu. Nepal themselves were unsuccessful in the tournament, going without a win.

In 2000, Nepal’s youth development policy began to pay off when the Nepal Under-19 team finished eighth in the Under-19 World Cup. The senior side had their best performance to date later in the year when they reached the semi-finals of the ACC Trophy before losing to Hong Kong at Sharjah. They competed in the ICC Trophy for the first and, to date, only time the following year. In the tournament in Ontario, they beat Germany and Gibraltar, but a loss to eventual runners-up Namibia prevented them from progressing past the first round.

In 2002, Nepal were runners-up to the UAE in the ACC Trophy in Singapore and they hosted the ACC Emerging Nations Tournament in 2003, winning easily against Bhutan and the Maldives. They won so comprehensively that they were not invited back to the tournament the next time it was played in 2005.

Nepal played first-class cricket for the first time in 2004, playing in the ICC Intercontinental Cup against the UAE and Malaysia. They beat Malaysia, but drew with the UAE, failing to reach the semi-final stage. They finished third in the ACC Fast Track Nations Tournament during 2004, which qualified them for the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup, and finished 5th in the ACC Trophy, which qualified them for the repêchage tournament of the 2005 ICC Trophy. They finished third in this tournament after beating Qatar in a play-off, meaning that they did not qualify for the 2005 ICC Trophy in Ireland. They beat the UAE and drew with Hong Kong in the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup, but missed out on qualification for the semi-finals by half a point. They were runners-up to the UAE in the 2005 ACC Fast Track Nations Tournament.

In March 2006, Nepal played Namibia in Windhoek in a play-off match to decide the final team in the 2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup. Needing to win outright to qualify for the main tournament, the match was drawn after there was no play on the first day. Later in the year, they toured Pakistan, playing against the Pakistan Cricket Academy before playing in the ACC Trophy in Kuala Lumpur. They finished fourth in the tournament after losing to Afghanistan in a play-off. They won the first ACC Premier League in 2006. They most recently played in the ACC Twenty20 Cup in Kuwait, where they finished fourth in their first round group.

Records:

Overall:

  • Highest team score: 397/8 against Bhutan, Kathmandu, 2003
  • Highest individual score: 108 by Mahaboob Alam against Malaysia, Kathmandu, 2005
  • Best innings bowling: 10/12 by Mahaboob Alam against Mozambique, Jersey, 2008,Record best at associate/affiliate level,only 3rd time in world cricket

    ICC Trophy:

  • Highest team score: 175/9 against Germany, Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Ontario, Canada, 2001
  • Highest individual score: 52 by Dipendra Chaudhary against Germany, Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Ontario, Canada, 2001
  • Best innings bowling: 4/23 by Parash Luniya against Germany, Maple Leaf Cricket Club, King City, Ontario, Canada, 2001

    More:
    In May 2008, Nepal travelled to Jersey to play in Division Five of the World Cricket League. Although Nepal topped Group A after the group qualifying matches, they lost their semi-final to Afghanistan and finished third overall after defeating the USA in a playoff. With only the top two from this tournament qualifying for Division Four in Tanzania later in the year, Nepal missed out on the chance to take their 2011 World Cup dream any further.

    They will also play in the ACC Trophy at some point in the year.

    Their top eight finish in the 2007 ACC Twenty20 Cup will mean that they will play in the 2009 ACC Twenty20 Cup, which will serve as a qualifier for the cricket tournament at the 2010 Asian Games.

    Links to more information on Nepal Cricket:

  • List of Nepalese first-class cricketers
  • Cricinfo.com Profile on Nepal
  • Nepal Cricket Website
  • Cricket Association of Nepal Website
  • Nepal Cricket Timeline
  • ShangrilaCricket- Nepal’s First Cricket Academy

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    *Acknowledgements to Wikipedia.org and owners of pictures and videos used.

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