Cricket Association of Nepal
CRICKET IN NEPAL
When discussing forces in the emerging game, few can question Nepal’s giant status. Unquestionably the most followed Associate nation, millions tune in to witness their heroes in action no matter the timezone. Despite attempts to introduce the game in the 1800s, cricket first took hold in the 1920s, albeit limited to members of the Rana dynasty and other elites in the country. First formed in 1946, the Cricket Association of Nepal promoted cricket across the elite, though after the country’s 1951 revolution, it began its spread through the general public. CAN joined the country’s National Sports in 1961, and by 1980, cricket had spread to all corners of the country. Domestic tournaments like the Jay Trophy allowed individual talent to blossom, and in 1996, Nepal made its international debut at the ACC Trophy. Nepal was a mainstay of the World Cricket League system and slowly rose through the divisions, culminating with a runners-up finish to UAE in WCL2 2018. They progressed to the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifier, defeating Hong Kong to finish fourth in Group B on net run rate, and pitting them with PNG in a playoff match to determine who would hold ODI status. Nepal chased down the target of 115 in 23 overs. In 2018, the Nepalis won their first ODI on tour in the Netherlands by just one run, successfully defending 216. Nepal’s challenges on the field, including a failure to progress from regional T20 World Cup Qualifying last year, have been compounded by internal issues off it, with the ICC suspending CAN in 2016 for government interference. As the global body ran operations and hired its own staff to oversee operations, Nepal’s funding was discontinued, stagnating domestic cricket and halting several structural developments as a result. Filling the void, entrepreneurs, sponsors and even the fans picked up the slack, pumping money into the Nepali game, as T20 franchise leagues and fan groups popped up before CAN’s reinstatement in October 2019. Now, with multiple franchise leagues attracting foreign stars despite consistent domestic play, especially in the longer formats, co-operation between league owners and the new board will determine Nepal’s progress on the international stage. On the women’s side, an international debut didn’t come until 2007, though the new Champions League is one of few Associate franchise leagues around the world, and promises to nurture future international talent. Outside of typical cricket clubs, talent academies are popping up around the country, with the board estimating over 100 in the country. These academies operate outside CAN’s jurisdiction, and cater for cricketers of all ages. District level competitions are held across 20 grounds around the country, with tournaments held for both men and women at under-16s, under-19s and senior level.
First men’s international match: vs. Bangladesh, Kuala Lumpur, ACC Trophy, 1996 Major international victories: vs. USA, Kathmandu, WCL5, 2010 vs. Uganda, Kuala Lumpur, WCL4, 2014 vs. Hong Kong, Chattogram, 2014, World T20 (T20I debut) vs. Afghanistan, Chattogram, 2014, World T20 vs. Canada, Windhoek (Wanderers), WCL2, 2018 vs. Netherlands, Amsterdam (VRA), 2018 (First ODI victory) vs. Papua New Guinea, Harare, World Cup Qualifier, 2018 Leading men’s international players: Mehboob Alam (2000-2015), Shakti Gauchan (2002-2018), Paras Khadka (2004-Present), Basanta Regmi (2006-2018), Sompal Kami (2013-Present), Karan KC (2014-Present), Sandeep Lamichhane (2016-Present) League formats: Various regional/national 50 over and 20 over comps + T20 franchise leagues World Cricket League history: Division 5 2008 (3rd), Division 5 2010 (Champions), Division 4 2010 (3rd), Division 4 2012 (Champions), Division 3 2013 (Champions), 2014 Division 3 (Champions), 2015 Division 2 (4th), 2015-17 Championship (7th), 2018 Division 2 (Runners-Up) World Cup appearances: 2014 (T20WC, Group Stage)
First women’s international match: 2007 vs. Thailand, Kuala Lumpur (Asian Cricket Council Women’s tournament) Leading women’s international players: Rubina Belbashi (2009-Present), Sita Magar (2007-Present), Kabita Kunwar (2018-Present), Kajal Shrestha (2018-Present), Nary Thapa (2007-Present) World Cup appearances: N/A
Tribhuvan University Ground, Kirtipur (Kathmandu - crowd photo above) Pokhara Stadium Complex, Pokhara (picture) Mulpani Upper Ground, Mulpani Siddhartha Stadium, Rupendehi