ANIL KESHARI SHAH
Even before the first ball was bowled on Sunday, when Team Nepal stepped on to the field for its first ever T20 World Cup and our flag was held high and our national anthem rang through the stadium, I found myself standing tall, singing along with my hand to my chest, and filled with a pride not felt often, my body covered in goosebumps of apprehension and aspiration. I am sure Nepalis across the nation felt the same as I did. Well, the first ball was bowled. Then runs flowed, wickets fell, each accompanied by shouts of joy and shrieks of pain until we reached that magic number of 149 when the overs ran out. Was it enough, could we have done more, what happened in that last over, how will they score, how will we ball: so many questions in the short time before the team was back on the field and our captain stood poised to ball. And what a ball it was! First ball, first wicket, and there was no turning back until we had completed an 80-run victory, having vanquished the opposition to the second-lowest score in the history of T20. As the players rejoiced on the field and the Nepali fans in the stadium went into a state of delirium, I along with an entire nation stood in awe and admiration of what our team, Team Nepal, had accomplished.We had arrived on the world cricket scene with a ´Sixer´! We all knew that cricket playing nations the world over would hear of our nation and the amazing achievement of Nepal´s sons on that hot Chittagong night. News channels, papers and the Internet would be abuzz with names they could not pronounce but accomplishments they would not be able to stop talking about. Stars had been born from their true grit and effort on the field as a team from the rooftop of the world descended onto the green pitch of cricket.But the ´Stars´ born that night did so much more than the myriad of stars that cricket produces the world over, for the Stars of Nepali cricket have shown a ray of hope and a beacon of optimism when our nation lies in a state of darkness and despair. As a people we look into a black abyss when we gaze into our future, conflicted and confused. As a nation we sit in a state of transition having cast aside old systems and grappling to put together a Constitution that will provide us the framework for charting a way forward. On that fateful night Team Nepal did more than just win their first T20 World Cup match, they lifted the hopes and aspirations of a nation, the Stars that shone bright that night did so not only on that cricket field, but in the hearts of Nepalis the world over. And that light the Team lit in each of us gave rise to a confidence that we too are no less than anyone else, that we too, in whichever field we are, can excel at the very highest level.But like with the match and our victory, we have to remember that, that was but the beginning of the journey with a long, long way to go before we arrive at the destination that we all aspire to reach. And for Team Nepal the second step in that journey is today when we face the host nation. At this point I recall the negative comments and jabs I used to hear when the team was trying to qualify for the World Cup; then we qualified. Then there was the banter of how we would not win a single game, that in fact the scores of our losses would be disastrous. Then we won our first game, and that too in a manner that has made the cricketing world sit up and take notice. Now I hear the noise of how that was Hong Kong, this is the host nation, we won´t know what hit us… All I say is let´s wait and see. And while we are waiting for our flag to come back in the World Cup arena and our national anthem to be sung again, let us take a moment and think of all those things individually, institutionally or nationally we have said and thought we could never do or achieve, and then draw inspiration from the young sons of Nepal who have consistently shown us that there is no word called ´impossible´ by making their impossible dream possible one step at a time.Until the last ball is bowled and faced we will not know the result of today´s match, but even before the first ball is bowled, we know that as a team, as a nation, we have a lot to be proud of already. So as we stand in front of the screen, hearts in our mouths, as our flag is held high and our national anthem sung in the World Cup arena this evening, let us salute the resolve, courage and dedication of these young sons of our nation, standing tall in the midst of thousands of opposing fans, standing confident that they will do the best they can and their best will be good enough. Now let´s get on with the task at hand and enjoy a great game of cricket… NEPAL – NEPAL –NEPAL – NEPAL – NEPAL!!!
Note :- This article was published in myrepublica.com and written by Mega Bank’s CEO Anil Keshari Shah…..