National cricket team plays under a system, a system that has been set for a long time. All the opponents Nepal get to meet at the international stage have been playing against a system that has been successful for the last two years.The system incorporates the entire playing-XI beginning from No 1 to No 11 with skipper Paras Khadka at the centre.
Coach Pubudu Dassanayake is the architecture of the system and skipper Paras Khadka has been a controlling mechanism on the field. The successful system has been beginning in the limited over matches with Subash Khakurel — the highest run getter in most of Nepal’s outing for the past few months — and Anil Mandal.
Both the openers’ role were crucial when Nepal won the Division-IV title in Malaysia and ACC Trophy Elite. Their 94-run opening wicket partnership against UAE in the final of the ACC Trophy Elite was crucial. Subash has been the most effective of all. Even if Anil fails, Subash has been holding the innings for Nepal allowing other batsmen to cut loose.
A clear example has been Nepal’s recent performance in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers where Subash stayed at the wicket and other batsmen had a go at the bowlers. Subash ended up in the tournament becoming the highest scorer. Any part of the senior team’s system that has delivered for the last few years is the middle order controlled by skipper Paras Khadka with Gyanendra Malla, Sharad Vesawkar, Binod Bhandari and Prithu Baskota showing their grit a the right time.
Bowlers Basanta Regmi and Shakti Gauchan have also been key in staying at the wicket in times of crisis proving to be an ally to those staying long from the top or middle order. The bowling department also works under a similar system. Nepal headed for New Zealand for the Qualifiers signalling a new beginning in the bowling department with rookies Jitendra Mukhiya and Avinash Karn in the side.
And the biggest inclusion was U-19 medium pace bowling sensation Som Pal Kami. Though Jitendra and Avinash don’t have the haul of experience like the ignored pace duo of Amrit Bhattarai and Chandra Saud, they have been within the system for quite a long time.
Jitendra was into his first 50-over tournament for the national team and Avinash in his second. Dassanayake picked up Som Pal considering the pace and bouncy wickets of New Zealand. “Som Pal is no doubt the best talent Nepal currently have,” Dassanayake had said then acknowledging the fact that he has not been in the system.
The team think tank — particularly Dassanayake and Paras — had all the plans fixed according to few changes the system brought for the Qualifiers. As the tournament opener against UAE was looming, the system collapsed with the back strain of Paras and Subash down for more than a week with viral fever.
Paras still pushed himself for the UAE match but the system was already affected by not having Subash. The entire team watched their ailing captain struggle in pain while bowling in three spells, the physical condition of Paras was now the mental state of the entire team.
In chase of of a mammoth 298 against UAE, Nepal needed a perfect start but with the duck dismissal of Anil, the match was virtually over. Without Paras, Nepali bowlers managed to stop Scotland at 249-7 in their second match and the onus was on the new opening pair of Sagar Pun and Anil.
But nothing has been going right with Nepal after the system began to jolt with the loss of Paras and Subash. Sagar was dismissed in the first ball of Nepal’s reply and the team never recovered from that stage. Everything has been about Paras for a long time in the national team but now Nepal are at a crucial juncture when they are also missing Subash.
The fine system that produced results until the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers one month ago now has suddeny collapsed.
GOD SAVE NEPAL.