25th year of International Cricket: a moment to cherish

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Image Courtesy: ICC. Espn Cricinfo. Peter Della Penna.
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Sometimes an article can inspire you to recollect some memories that help you cherish some significant moments. 5th September 2020, a cup of local tea in my hand to kick start my day. As always, the cellphone was the 1st thing that encountered in the morning and I started my regular hobby of scrolling the news feed.

There was the most decorative article of senior Sports journalist Binod Pandey at www.ekantipur.com. He amplified the significant moment of Nepali cricket’s 25th year and he marveled the moments into a story of 1st ever International tournament played by the Nepali cricket.

After reading the article and those beautifully presented story, I began the search of some significant matches that led foundation for Nepali cricket to rise in the Global arena.

It was 1996 that started our 1st International tour as described by Binod Pandey with beautiful wordplay. 1996 was the same year Sri Lanka won that historic world cup with Captain Arjuna Ranatunga and Arvinda De Silva gave Sri Lanka cricket the most significant moment of their life.

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The wave of that world cup was one game changer that brought cricket as a dream in the young minds that saw Lara, Jayasuriya, Tendulkar, Rhodes, Akram, Waqar as their super heroes to pursuit a career in cricket. Although, the game was in a very raw stage in Nepal.

Nepal hosted its 1st match in 1998 in TU International cricket ground and in 2004 1st first class match was played in the form of Intercontinental match against Malaysia.

The significant players that played their part to lead a foundation of modern cricket in Nepal like Dipendra Chaudhary, Raju Khadka, Mehboob Alam, Shakti Gauchan, Paresh Lohani, Binod Das, and Basanta Regmi came into the scene over this period.

Paras Khadka the most significant batsmen to have carried that legacy of determination paved his way post-2004.

Then, in 2006 Nepal achieved a unique feat by beating two of the strong U-19 teams in the likes of South Africa and Newzealand that had names like Tim Southee, Todd Astle, Richard Levi, Craig Kieswetter, Collin Munro, and Martin Guptill.

The plate semi-final against South Africa and final against Newzealand gave Nepal two unsung heroes Basanta Regmi and then captain Kanishka Chaugai. The victory was pulled off more significantly by Basant Regmi with both bat and ball. Those were the moment that restored belief in Nepal to perform outside the home condition.

This helped me to form a timeline of 11 significant moments of Nepali cricket that made this generation of cricketers to carry willows and kit bags and wear that red and blue colors and march their career forward.

Here we present you the timeline in the auspicious occasion of completion of 24 years of international cricket and the beginning of the 25th year of International cricket in Nepal.

1996– Nepal’s first participation in an International tournament in which Nepal played its 1st International game against Bangladesh in Malaysia.

2006– Nepal beat South Africa in the semi-final and New Zealand in the final of ICC U-19 Plate Final in Colombo by 2 runs and 1 wicket respectively.

2008– Mehboob Alam became the first bowler to take all 10 wickets in an innings of limited over International. He achieved this feat playing against Mozambique in Fiji in ICC World Cricket League Division V.

2010– Nepal claims its first-ever World Cricket League trophy, winning the 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division in their own backyard. Nepal beat the USA in the finals of the following tournament.

2012-Nepal declared as joint winner of ACC Elite Cup 2012, which was the final edition of the following tournament.

2013– Nepal booked its place for the first-ever World-Cup, powered by Sharad Vesawkar’s majestic innings against Kenya 2013.

2014– Nepal registered a win over Afghanistan after 10-year in ICC World Twenty 20 2014.

2016– Sandeep Lamichhane became the first Nepalese and the fourth cricketer in the world to take a hat-trick in the Under-19 World Cup in 2016.

2018– Karan KC pulled back a stunning win over Canada with a 51-run last-wicket stand to take Nepal into ICC World Cup Qualifier 2018 which eventually helped Nepal to get One Day International (ODI) status. This innings (which was played on February 14) gave him a special nickname, Valentine Boy all over the nation.

2018– Nepal registered their first One Day International (ODI) win against the Netherlands on August 3, 2018. This was their second ODI match.

2019– Skipper Paras Khadka’s century inspired Nepal to its first-ever One Day International (ODI) series-win against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019. Nepal clean-sweep UAE by 3-0 in their own backyard.

We wish all the Nepali cricket fans and well-wishers associated with Nepali cricket from groundsmen, umpires, players, and officials along with all the players who have contributed for Nepali cricket selflessly.

Let’s mark the 25th year of Nepali cricket with an oath to do all the necessary things to carry the dream of Nepal playing test matches in a decade to follow.

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