History always reminds us of our foundation. It teaches us the roots from where we have started our journey. The current state is the result or output of our past. Hence, we have decided to pay tribute to our past and veteran players who are still trying their level best to be the torchbearer in their region to flourish cricket.
In most of our earlier episodes, we talk about current players, current scenario and situation of this game of cricket. But in this episode, called “CCN Veteran”, we will be talking to one of the veteran players who struggle and play for Nepal when cricket wasn’t professional sport in Nepal.
In this episode, we will catch up with Lakpa Lama from Jhapa. Lama is a former spinner of the Nepal cricket team who was once adjudged as player of series in ACC Youth Asia Cup in 1999. Below, we are presenting you with our conversation with Lama.
What dragged your motivation to start playing cricket initially?
– I was always a sport-loving child. I used to play every available sport after school time with friends. Talking about cricket, in particular, 1996’s World Cup developed my interest to focus on cricket among all other sports.
We used to play cricket because we loved it, we were totally unaware of playing for the nation or something like that.
Please tell us something about how it all started?
– In 1997-98, along with seniors of my place, I went for the regional team’s selection for the Nepal under-17 team. As far as I remember, it was for Hong Kong’s tour.
I used to be pace bowler till that date, but selectors didn’t allow me to take part in it, calling my action as a choke. I even didn’t get a chance to bat, which frustrates and inspired me to improve my game. From then on, I started bowling spin. I was selected for the Nepal U-17 team’s camp in the next attempt with six wickets in two matches in selection matches.
After playing for Nepal Under-17 in Bangladesh, I was called up Nepal Under-19 team for Asia Cup. I was adjudged as man of the series in Youth Asia Cup, which eventually motivated me to play cricket permanently. But later, I was underestimated and didn’t get a fair chance for Nepal so, I decided to quit.
Barring Sandeep Lamichhane, according to you, who is the most talented spinner who will go on to serve Nepal in the long run?
– There are many talents in Nepal, they are just lacking platform and exposure. But only having talent is not enough, one should also have skill and temperament to execute it on the cricket field, which actually Sandeep presented very well to the world.
I’m not being able to figure-out any name, because we haven’t seen any domestic cricket for a long time. I’m personally in search of such spinner, who can set his own mark behind the cricketing notebook, who can think besides “Z” and have his natural way of bowling.
What is the difference between grassroots level cricket and higher-level cricket of Nepal from your’s time and now?
– To be honest, it’s completely different. With an increment of international and national level matches, there’s a wide range of scope in cricket nowadays but there’s a small pool of players who are playing for it.
In our time, there were limited higher-level cricket but numerous grassroots level cricket including district level matches. There used to be over 250 players in the district cricket team’s selection in our time, and we are only having 80-90 players currently.
We used to play this game because of our love for this game, we were expecting nothing in return. There was more passion than a profession, where cricket is more of the profession today so kids are choosing short-cut, settling down in Kathmandu, practicing in the well-recognized academy which faded the importance of district cricket.
We will get a large pool of players, once district level cricket comes to priority.
I don’t mind cricket being profession, i’m very happy that next generation should not secrifice their dreams just because of money, but i want strong grassroot level base.
What factor effect you to carry on your’s career for long-run?
– I don’t blame anyone or anything for my career. I failed to keep patience and run away from it. So, I’m responsible for my short career. Like most of my colleagues, I was also facing financial problems. The one who faces this problem and keeps playing gets success.
According to me, my bowling suited in the Twenty20 version. So, I think if the Twenty20 format was introduced a bit early I probably would have stayed a bit more, probably.
How would you contribute to Nepali cricket now?
– I strongly believe that the system and culture of grassroots level cricket in Nepal aren’t that satisfactory. I was out of the frame lately because I was frustrated.
But nothing can take you away from this beautiful game. Now, I will work from my side to improve the quality of grassroots cricket in my Province (Province No.1).
Which player did you idolize in your playing time?
– I used to look after Jacques Kallis initially. After being spinner, I started following SaqlainMushtaq.
Tell us one player from your time, who was very talented but we failed to watch to him for long-run?
– Obviously, none other than KanishkaChaugai. If anyone could stand with Paras Khadka currently in Nepal cricket then, it should have been Kani. He was filled with pure-class. In our time, he used to score 50 runs in seven overs. Today, it may sound ordinary but it was from a different time.
Any message for young cricket players?
– Nothing much for young players. Just keep playing and keep chasing your dream. But I have a message for stakeholders, please let’s work to improve grassroots level cricket in Nepal. We need tournaments like Jai Trophy where players can showcase their talent directly from the District team.
Currently engaging himself at Patriotic Cricket Training Center, Jhapa Lakpa Lama has been a role model for cricket development in the Eastern Province (Province no.1).
The inputs and lessons in cricket from Lama to this generation’s kids have made life easier for young players. We salute for the selfless love and dedication of Lakpa Lama for cricket development in Nepal.