Nepal have received a High Performance Grant of $175,000 from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the preparation ICC Cricket World Cup Qulaifier, president of the cricket governing body Tanka Angbuhang confirmed on Thursday.
ICC provides the amount to the Associate and Affiliate nations who are ranked from ninth to 12th. The top eight ranked non-Test playing teams receive the grant of $350,000.
Nepal are currently 11th among the non-Test playing nations following their ICC World Cricket League Division-III victory in Bermuda on May 5. ICC has been providing Nepal with the annual aid of $300,000 and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) gives the Himalayan nation $60,000 under administration expenses.
Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) President Angbuhang said the grant is a huge relief for Nepal just a step away from fulfilling their World Cup dreams.
“We are preparing to provide the government with our World Cup prepparation plans so that we could get assistance from them. The financial help from ICC is a huge relief for us,” national daily Nagarik quoted Angbuhang as saying.
Due to budget constraints, participation of Nepal’s two players in the Sri Lankan U-23 League had remained uncertain. Angbuhang hinted that CAN could now sponsor the entire tour of the two players. Coach Pubudu Dassanayake had recommended batsmen Pradeep Airee and Binod Bhandari for the U-23 league.
However, due to age factor Binod had to pull out of the Sri Lankan tournament with wicket-keeper batsman Subash Khakurel replacing the middle order batsman.
“We are sending the two players to Sri Lanka and send the team to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for the World Cup Qualifier preparation,” Angbuhang added. “We are also considering to invite some foreign teams here in Nepal apart from brining specialist coaches,” he said.
Nepal, who are currently playing their best cricket ever in the history, are close to play two World Cups. Nepal are participating in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in November in Dubai where the top six teams will reach the World Twenty20.
Also, if they finish inside the top two place in the 50-over World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand, a World Cup berth is awaiting them. If the team can round up inside the top four spots in the New Zealand Qualifiers, Nepal will gain ODI status for four years.