Let me remind you of May 14, 2011 when national team skipper Paras Khadka led his team Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club to title triumph in the Pepsi Standard Chartered One Day National Tournament against a team that had just sneaked in the Nepali cricketing scene.
APF were chasing a competitive target of 216 runs and they needed a 148-run stand from their skipper Paras and Sharad Vesawkar to chase down the total. APF were the deserved champions and it looked as if there were not going to be any other teams who could get the better of them.
But an antonym of win was awaiting them.
A week later on May 21, APF were up against the same team in the final of the Twenty20 nationals and went clueless when they were bundled out for 85 in 19.3 overs. With a very strong bowling attack, APF did well to take the match to the final over but couldn’t stop their opponents to reach the total in the penultimate ball of the day.
A team which was looking unbeatable just a week ago was now beaten. That is what cricket is all about. Club cricket has been the best story teller.
The team that APF made the short work of in the 50-over game was Nepal Police Club – the youngest to be formed as a departmental side. And it was the same team that surprised everyone by writing off the star billings of APF.
Led by former national team skipper Binod Das, NPC consisted some of the young players who were subjected to hit bigger stage with the progress of time. NPC’s victory had made the cricket pundits happy because now there were two power houses in the domestic cricket to talk about.
But the happiness was momentary as the club scrapped its cricket team following some complications of completing the formalities.
From next year it was ordinary. APF were barely troubled in their One-day title defense except for some exquisite heroics from ton-up Faizlur Rahman Khan and defeating Baitadi in the Twenty20 final always looked mundane.
An excitement was prevalent when APF were made to toil with NPC existing at the other end. And the same excitement has struck everyone once again with Nepali Army’s decision to form a cricket team. Yes it is good to hear the confirmation from them.
Nepali Army has moved ahead to form a cricket team which – though not so early – will bring a fair amount of competition in the domestic cricket. After a chunk of national cricketers shifted from their respective regions to form the APF team, the domestic cricket has almost been a one sided affair except for that NPC’s victory in the Twenty20.
Nepali cricket fans have enjoyed their national team win back to back international tournaments but the domestic cricket has been less crowd puller. With Nepali Army set to send their cricketing brigade at the TU Stadium, the national cricket will now only wait for the revival of NPC which can make the domestic cricket more exciting and more competitive as it has never been.
A full house at the TU Stadium could now be expected if more teams appear into the scene other than the regions and more cash is splashed in cricket.