For Binaya Raj Pandey, the newly appointed president of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), there are quite a few things to sort out. The mismanagement and lack of development initiatives in the Nepal cricketÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s governing body have long derailed the future of the game. But with Pandey back in power with his experience of efficiently serving it for 39 years as honorary secretary and the knowledge of the demerits of conflicts, the cricketing fraternity of Nepal is hopeful that his appointment will bring back Nepali cricket on the right path.
Cricket has proved time and again the best team sports of the country. Nepal has had reckoned itself an upcoming force with tremendous performance, especially at the age-group level. But CAN always failed to match the pace with the players and thus Nepal had to lose many excellent opportunities.
Pandey believes, therefore, that the first priority of the new executive committee will be to assess the situation and doing an overall review of the state of the association.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Immediately, we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say anything,Ã¢â‚¬Â the new CAN president said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But my first priority will be to understand the situation of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Academy, and see if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still possible to work forward for its establishment.Ã¢â‚¬Â
CAN has had been lagging behind in many aspects Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it even failed to submit the five-year comprehensive development plan to ICC and ACC in 2003, and Pandey believes his team will develop such a strategy plan to develop the game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make our five-year plan and submit it to ICC and ACC along with the financial plan to support the development plan,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Sponsorship seemed to be the biggest problem for CAN in the past. At least two major sponsors broke away with the association citing poor functioning. But Pandey believes there should be no lack of sponsors henceforth.
Outside the managerial and diplomatic functions, in which Pandey is considered the best among those passionate for cricket, the new committee has challenges.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve learnt is that despite having good players, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something lacking in the senior team Ã¢â‚¬â€œ there hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been good results,Ã¢â‚¬Â he hinted at his diagnosis and added. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The teams that are doing well in age-group levels canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t perform at senior levels. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say they havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t played well, but they did fail in important and crunch matches.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Pandey, however, wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t blame the players for those shortcomings. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been getting matches to play,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Playing three 50-overs matches and expecting them to do well is not justified.Ã¢â‚¬Â So he is planning to have an interaction with senior players to appreciate their problems.
Even though he does not have any clear plan right now, he has two agendas for immediate action.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Two things I want are two-day format National League and arrangements with the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) for Nepali team to play in India as Bangladesh used to before they received one-day status,Ã¢â‚¬Â he explained, adding that details need to be discussed and worked out.
Pandey talks to Bhaskar Gyawali of Kantipur Television after his appointment as new CAN president.
Pandey also wants a separate event for clubs because there is lack of club tournaments. Ã¢â‚¬Å“A possibility weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen is organizing Twenty20 cricket with prize money in regional headquarters,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“CANÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s regional bodies should organize these tournaments with support from CAN.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Besides that, Pandey is also keen to develop womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cricket. Though womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cricket is not in r the calendar of CAN, a few tournaments are being organized in the western parts of the country.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ICC has a different body for womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cricket; so we hope to develop it as ICC can help on those matters,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. And it may be easier for him because one of the key people in organizing these tournaments in western Nepal, former captain LB Chhetri, is in his committee.
The new committee is full of people committed to the development of the game Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from such experienced lot as Pandey and general secretary Damodar Suwal to young and energetic ones, including Pawan Agrawal, Tarak Mani Dixit and Chhetri himself.
Since the game has immense possibility in the country, provided everyone concerned works honestly, it will be sooner than later that cricket will make the nation proud.
Photos by Ujjwal Acharya/NepalCricket.com