Cricket is more than 100 years old in Nepal, already. After being introduced in 1892 as one of the most prominent games among the elites during the Rana regime , the charm of the gentleman’s game became rampant after the Rana regime was ousted from the country. Together with it, the formation of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) in 1961 and its inclusion in the National Sports Council saw the game rife to whole of Nepal, despite being limited to Kathmandu until a decade or two more.
Nepal became an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1988 and a member nation in 1996. With the neighboring nations in South East Asia- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Srilanka, all playing international cricket and World Cup by 1999 (Bangladesh participating first in 1999), the ‘Cricket Craze‘ mushroomed profoundly among the Nepalese as well.
Here are some reasons why Nepali cricket is improving today and could reach at the rank of the elites soon.
Nepal played different regional matches after 2000 and bagged their first major title in international level as Division 5 Champions in 2010. In just a few years then after, Nepal has progressed to the division 2 grabbing titles in the division 4 and division 3 as winners in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Nepal gained ICC T20I status on 28 June 2014 and participated in the T20 World Cup 2014 as well after which the players have incurred to some exceptional performance already.
Unlike past years where the budget on sports was only counted on mere millions, the government has allocated a total of 1.48 Billion Nrs. for sports with 200 million for the construction of international level cricket stadium in Mulpani, Kathmandu. Together with this, the government also remains hopeful to award players performing well in national and international competitions with increased budget, cash awards and several other accolades which seem to be a great initiative in supporting and uplifting the standards of the game.
Witty, tall, handsome and subtle in and out of the cricket pitch, ‘THE’ man of the Nepali Cricket team obviously has to be Paras Khadka. Touted as one of the peerless players in the Nepalese Cricket history, Paras began his career as a U15 player in 2004 and joined the senior team in 2006 before captaining the side in 2008.
He was also quoted “arguably good enough to be in the line-up of any of the Test-playing countries” in a World Cup souvenir program. He even denied the call to join the national basketball team in Nepal to devote himself for cricket and its progress in Nepal.