In the most encouraging sign yet that civilisation is alive and well in the Kingdom of Nepal, the national cricket team have routed Kuwait faster than the Iraqi army and gilded their Himalayan Lilies further by crushing the Kingdom of Bhutan by 281.
As has been faithfully transmitted by the Club’s man in Kathmandu, the turmoil created by the armed Maoist insurgency and the shambolic pretensions of the “democratic” assembly have left the country bereft of the direct paternal oversight of HM King Gyanendra.
But, in a victory for the forces of good, the Napalese cricket team started their Asian Cricket Council Trophy campaign in the best possible way.
Cricket in Nepal was first introduced in the early twentieth century by the Rana clan, the ruling aristocratic force in northern India and Nepal at the time, of which the Shah dynasty is a branch. These young men of substance had been sent to England to be educated and, in the traditional public school way, had returned with basic maths and French, some Latin, the ability to command and an unquenchable thirst for cricket.
Enthusiasm for the sport is national and is hardly the preserve of the upper eschelons in Nepal. Flat land being at something of a premium though, most of the grounds are located in and around royal palaces.
The Cricket Association of Nepal was formally founded in 1946, although no data is available stating the number of grounds, players or clubs. Nepal was formal accepted into the ICC in 1996, having been a member of the Asian Cricket Council since two years previous.
The national side have been growing in strength in recent years and are much fancied in the Asian Cricket Council Trophy this year. In February, the under-19 side managed an 82 run coup over Ireland, and today’s victory is largely built on the strong youth element in the national setup, boding well, if not for the government then for cricket.
Youngsters Gyanendra Malla (named in honour of HM) and Sharad Vesawkar both scored half-centuries as Nepal started its Tophy assault with a six-wicket victory over Kuwait at the Kelab Aman Ground Monday.
Gyanendra scored 79 while Sharad got 62 as Nepal reached the target of 205 runs with 15 balls to spare. Earlier, Kuwait scored 204/7 in the 50 overs despite captain Binod Das’ haul of 3/39. Gyanendra was chosen man of the match.
Making his senior debut in international one-day cricket, Gyanendra had to bear the responsibility as an opener but he proved a worthy choice scoring at will.
“I feel good but I believe I could have done better,” Gyanendra modestly declaimed after the match. He also revealed his unease at openning the batting in place of the regular Kanishka Chaugai, but havign made 78* against the Pakistan National Academy in the warm up match, his confidence grew and he looked confident at the crease.
In a cruel blow, neither he nor Sharad could salute the Pavillion, the local scoreboard was not equipped to display individual batsmen.
Earlier, Nepal won the toss and elected to field on a cloudy day. It looked a good decision as Binod removed Nadeem Malik (7) in the sixth over before Mohammad Nawaz and Jagath Roshanta batted patiently adding 55 runs for the second wicket.