While its neighbours dominated international cricket for decades, Nepal simply languished. But with recent international tournament victories, its cricket team is beginning to taste unprecedented success.
Historically, Nepal's performance in international sports has been poor, with only a few victories of note. However, its recent performance in international cricket has taken giant leaps, bringing joy and hope to Nepalis that they too, in near future, can be equated with other subcontinent stalwarts –India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.
In the finals of the ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Bermuda in May, Nepal defeated Uganda by five wickets for the title – enabling the Himalayan country to advance to the Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2014 in New Zealand. The Qualifiers are a stepping stone to the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Nepal also won the 2012 Asia Cricket Council (ACC) Trophy Elite and finished runner-up at this year's ACC Twenty20 Cup.
"This is our biggest achievement in cricket to date. It has become a cause of euphoria for fans of Nepali cricket," Surya Thapaliya, advisor to the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), told Khabar South Asia.
"Finally, we have something to be proud of in sports," medical student Suvash Dawadi told Khabar. "I think Nepali cricket team had been playing well in the past. Now, we are finally seeing the results."
Assistant Coach Majur Alam Khan said the team is accomplishing things many never thought would be possible.
"It is like dreams being fulfilled. We have a great opportunity ahead of us. Our achievement has shown us that Nepal's dream of playing in the Cricket World Cup is not impossible, although the road ahead is quite challenging," he said.
Such progress is not an accident. "The achievements are a cumulative result of the past ten years of investment in Nepali cricket team since Coach Roy Das coached the players when they played in the junior team. The team has matured now," Thapaliya, the CAN advisor, said.
The victory brought a rain of rewards for the national team. The government rewarded Rs. 350,000 ($3,700) to each player and CAN awarded an additional Rs. 100,000 ($1,050). Additionally the United Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) [Maoist] gave Rs. 25,000 ($260) to each player and Nepali Congress gave Rs. 200,000 ($2,100) to the team.
On July 2nd, Nepal Foreign Employment Entrepreneurs Association celebrated the team's progress by rewarding it with Rs. 75,000 ($790) and a letter of appreciation.
The recognitions have motivated the players, but have also added more responsibility, said team member Sharad Vesawkar.
"No one can guarantee success in sports," he told Khabar. "But the Nepali cricket team is committed to give its 100% in the field. We are hopeful that we will perform well at the Qualifiers as well."
The group, Nepali Cricket Fans on Facebook, has swelled to more than 34,000 members with a boost from the recent success.
"We felt that concerned authorities were not doing enough for the development of cricket in Nepal. So, we formed the club to pressurize the authorities as well as support Nepali cricket team on our own," Nepali Cricket Fan Club Secretary Bhola Neupane told Khabar.
"We raised funds to buy a digital scoreboard and donated it to the Cricket Association of Nepal. We have also been regularly organising programmes where members of our national cricket team interact with fans as well as leaders of other fields," he said.
"We are also working to identify young talents in cricket from across the nation and bring them to the attention of the concerned authorities."
Copied from : Khabar South Asia By Surath Giri for Khabar South Asia in Kathmandu