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Nepal's First Class match against MCC: Little to take, lot to learn

Nov 08, 2019 | CN Staff |

Sompal Kami would cherish his half century and Karan KC will take solace from six wickets but Nepali cricketers seek more tournaments in longer version to close the gap against stronger teams after the hosts surrendered meekly in their one-off Three-Day match against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Friday.

The gulf between a team comprising of experienced First Class cricketers from England and Nepal was widely exposed when Nepal lost to the visitors by a whopping 208 runs. Leaving aside the margin of defeat, it was Nepal's inability to survive for even 90 collective overs in the two innings that underlined how the country is hung over by shorter version of games owing to a fractured domestic structure.

MCC, who included former England Test cricketer Tom Westley and Pakistan's Yasir Arafat in their squad, treated the game according to its nature by taking 101.5 overs to reach an imposing 364 all out. Nepal's first innings was half over when they lost their first five wickets inside 20 overs before they crumbled to 153 all out in 45 overs.

As MCC didn't impose follow on and continued to dominate the hosts with their experience, Nepal were left with a mountain to climb after the visitors declared their second innings at 181-6 giving an improbable target of 393 from remainder of last day's play on Friday.After losing their captain Gyanendra Malla (six), Nepal were quickly pushed to backfoot and caved in to 78-7 in 19 overs with Oliver Hannon-Dalby alone wreaking havoc with five wickets. It was the lower middle order which once again offered resistance and Sompal's half century took Nepal to a respectable 184. But the team only survived 40.4 overs bringing an early closure to the match.

MCC skipper Tom Westley, who played five Tests for the English side and has amassed over 10,000 First Class runs, knew where it all went wrong for Nepal. "There is talent in Nepali boys but they have been playing too much of Twenty20 cricket and even 50-over game are scarce for them," said 30-year old Westley.

"These guys are playing red ball cricket for the first time and if they get more tournaments like these in the domestic structure, they can do really well," added Westley.

Following the completion of the match, Westley and Arafat spent some times with Nepali batsmen and bowlers lending lessons. Arafat, who is closing in on 800 First Class wickets was impressed with Nepali fast bowling duo of Karan and Sompal.

"Karan and Sompal both bowled really well and have a lot of potential. I have told them to continue their hard work so that they could continue to get better," said Arafat. But Karan and Sompal don't know when they are going to play their next First Class or multi-format game.Nepal have now become a One Day International nation but its only the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 fixtures the cricketers will be playing for the next three years, albeit the newly formed cricket governing body comes up with something very tangible for the development of the game.

The team did manage to pull off their three-match away series to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2-1 in January early this year. But they have not played any 50-over game till now, sparing the annual Prime Minister Cup One-Day National cricket tournament at home. And without having a multi-day format of cricket, their one-day cricket cannot be guaranteed to blossom.

"We have to think about four-day cricket in the domestic set up if we are to compete against decent sides in world cricket. We have a new governing body and lets see how much we can plan," said national team coach Umesh Patwal who took the three-day match against MCC as a big learning curve.



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