The International Cricket Council (ICC) has opened the doors for a busy international schedule for Nepal though it relegated the tiny Himalayan national to the ICC World Cricket League Division-III.
Nepal were left devastated when they finished a disappointing ninth in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers that sent two teams in the 2015 World Cup and gave four teams the ODI status for four years. At a time when Nepal were playing the best cricket of their history, they finished ahead of bottom side Uganda – a result which was expected to deprive Nepal off a lucrative sum from the world cricket’s governing body and most importantly busy schedule through the ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) and ICC InterContinential Cup (ICup) – in the Qualifiers.
The ICC on Wednesday confirmed Nepal’s relegation to Division-III but at the other hand opened gates for their participation in the WCLC and ICup. The WCLC also opens Test doors for ICC’s Associate & Affiliate (A&A) nations.
Nepal will now participate in the Division-III where a top two finish will send them back to Division-II. Uganda, USA, Bermuda and two teams from Division-IV are the other teams in the Division-III. Nepal has been proposed to host the Division-III in November.
The Division-II will serve as the Qualifier for the WCLC and ICup which will run from 2015-17, meaning Nepal have another huge opportunity to take their cricket into higher level. The Kenya, Netherlands, Namibia and Canada are currently in Division-II.
The WCLC will include home and away 50-over matches and the points gained from them will determine the final standings. The ICup will include first class cricket.
In its meeting in February, the ICC decided to give A&A teams a chance to have a shot at the Test status through a playoff. The playoff will be held between the top two teams from the WCLC and bottom two nations from the ICC Test rankings.
Coach Pubudu Dassanayake and skipper Paras Khadka have been defining their horrible World Cup Qualifiers campaign as one of the forgetful tournaments that didn’t go their way. Nepal has already defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Hong Kong – a team whom they lost against in New Zealand’s Qualifiers.
With the team already proving the Qualifiers as just a rough patch for the entire team and a two-day tournament looming, Nepal will have another lifetime opportunity to hit the biggest stage of the world cricket.