Nepal is one of cricket’s fastest-growing nations. However, there are dimensions of the sport in the country that receive limited attention. Emerging Cricket recently spoke to Ravi Timilsina, a pioneer of Nepal’s indoor cricket scene.
Discussing the impetus for the introduction of indoor cricket to Nepal, Timilsina states that other sports led to its success.
‘I believe futsal’s success brought indoor cricket’s vision into play.’
Futsal is a form of football played on a smaller indoor court and has exponentially grown throughout the country. In 2020 it was estimated that there are around 120 futsal courts across Nepal.
The rules of indoor cricket have been adapted to take into account the varying size of the courts. Different indoor cricket centres in Nepal tweak the rules to suit their spaces accordingly.
‘All indoor venues, as well as different teams, play by their own rules. The main difference between outdoor and indoor cricket comes down to the size of the playing area. Because the leg side and offside are a short distance, the majority of shots have to be played straight. One cannot hit the ball very high, and sixes have to be hit flat.
‘It varies with the size of the ground and the rules by which a team plays. Every team can adapt their rules to that which best suits them and their convenience. A regular cricket player can easily mould into indoor cricket and have fun.’
‘There are four indoor cricket establishments in the capital [Kathmandu] with the first indoor ground being established in 2013’.
After its initial introduction, the sport has continued to grow and thrive. One of the primary reasons the sport has grown in the capital is that it lacks outdoor playing space. The city lies in a valley surrounded by mountains, and space is at a premium. In this context, indoor cricket allows the sport to continue being played when grounds are unavailable.
Following its introduction in 2013, Timilsina has created a team that plays every weekend.
‘(Our team consists) of my college friends, social media acquaintances and their contacts. In this way, indoor cricket has been sort of a social event and a great unifier. The team now consists of 50 members ready to play or be called upon on any given day. There are indoor cricket tournaments that take place now and again and i and my team have been a regular fixture at these tournaments.’
‘Indoor cricket has brought together cricket lovers of all ages and professional backgrounds. My team was initially formed of Twitter friends and now has extended to include friends and acquaintances of each team members. It has been a great way to meet new cricket lovers, which otherwise would not have been possible’.
Indoor cricket has created more than just friendships with indoor cricket has been a learning ground for some of the countries national talent. Timilsina explained that there is now a pathway for players into the eleven-a-side system.
‘There have also been instances of some indoor players who have been selected for the [outdoor] national team. Indoor cricket has certainly helped in development of cricket nationally’.
Indoor cricket in Nepal has brought the cricketing community together and continues to be a breeding ground for the next Nepalese superstars.
At this current moment in time, Nepal does not have an international indoor cricket team. Still, it is only a matter of time before this happens with the speed that the sport is growing in the country. There are rumours that some indoor groups are thinking about travelling to India to participate in locally organised tournaments.
Indoor cricket brings joy to so many cricketers all around the world, and serves so many important functions for the sport. Cricketers in England play indoor cricket over the winter months to stay in contact with their friends and the sport they love. Some are more ambitious. In Australia international cricketer Cameron Boyce stated his intention to become the first Australian to play both in the outdoor and indoor Cricket World Cup.
The opportunity for outdoor and indoor national representation may also become a reality for talented Nepalese cricketers in the future. Any who knows – they may yet come up against Cameron Boyce.
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