A long long time ago, back in 1979, Sri Lankans were the minnows in world cricket and qualified for the World Cup through ICC Trophy — a qualifying tournament that has now been modified into a cycling World Cricket League.
The Lankans gained Test status two years after their maiden participation in the World Cup of 1979 and another Asian side Bangladesh was burgeoning in the global map as one of the cricketing nations.
Though it took almost two decades for Bangladesh after Sri Lanka gained the Test status, it gave an opportunity to South Asia to boast of having four Test playing nations along with established giants India and Pakistan.
Cricket has been almost common in the Indian sub-continent that offers same nature of pitches almos everywhere. If India succumbs to short balls, so does Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and if Sri Lanka display their brutality against the spinners, rest of the South Asian nations carry the same tendency.
Before establishing themselves as the Asian Test playing giants, Sri Lanka played a lot of cricket in India and Bangladesh is not an exception. The now-settled Associate giants Afghanistan recently managed to tap help from the richest Indian cricket board meaning there will be more cricket for them in India.
Afghanistan cricket flourished in the refugee camps in Pakistan and their hardship has placed them in the 2015 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. After proving themselves as an opponent not to be underestimated in the one-dayers they played against Pakistan and Australia and two World Twenty20 participation, the onus will now be on Nepal to make the most of their proximity with India.
Nepali team left for India for the first time in an official tour on Sunday that is expected to put forward competitive teams. The news of Indian international batting star Gautam Gambhir to lead one of the DDCA teams is just the confirmation that a fierce competition is awaiting Nepali boys.
Coach Pubudu Dassanayake knows that it is a proving time for Nepal. “It is time for everyone to step up and prove that Nepal are also capable of playing at a bigger stage. We have come a long way and now we need to prove that we are not that behind in world cricket,” said Dassanayake who has long term plans with the New Delhi tour.
“We have both of the Qualifiers in our mind,” the coach added referring to the ICC World Twenty20 and ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers. “Since we are going to play some of the tough teams, we are looking forward to set certain plans for Twenty20 and 50-over Qualifiers,” he said.
“We know that conditions in UAE (T20 Qualifiers) and New Zealand (50-over Qualifiers) are going to be different, but this tour will definitely help us in setting our plans for both the tournaments and bring more maturity to our players,” the coach added.
Skipper Paras Khadka expected a tough tour that will help the team make the most out of it. “We are hopeful that we get to play the practice matches that we are looking for. We have been playing good for a lot of time. Everyone has been given a role in the team and I hope we will go even better with two big tournaments in our mind,” added the skipper.
Nepal will play three matches against DDCA teams, two against Indian Railways and two against Invitational teams. With internationally popular Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium hosting two of the matches, the tour has been given a good treat by the Indian officials.
Dassanayake thanked DDCA for making it happen at the most important time for Nepali cricket. “Thanks to DDCA for managing all these things because this exactly is the thing that we had wanted ahead of the Qualifiers,” Dassanayake shared with cricketingnepal.com.