Pitch For Cricket

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Acentury on, Nepali cricket has come a long way from its humble beginnings to securing the One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) status. The recent achievement in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League-2 kept Nepal's hope of playing in the World Cup alive. Moreover, by retaining the ODI status Nepal has proved that it is gradually moving forward to gain Test status- the ultimate goal to achieve for any cricketing nation. The presence of thousands of dedicated home fans and the passion of cricketers has proved world cricket that the game is as popular as in the Test playing nations. As the decreasing number of cricket fans in some of the Test playing nations has been a big concern for the International Cricket Council, thousands of admirers flocking to watch their local heroes play at TU Cricket Ground has put Nepal as another potential market in the eyes of the world cricket governing body. 

 The success Nepali cricket has gained so far is built on the passion of its fans and the minimum facilities the national cricketers are provided with. However, having cricket talents and dedicated fans are not just enough for eying a higher status in this sport arena. The nation also needs full-fledged and well facilitated stadiums with international standards to host the matches with big teams and high-level tournaments. To cater to the needs, the government is investing to its capacity in the construction of major eight cricket stadiums. This initiative in investment is a step in the right direction. However, the construction of those stadiums are being delayed for the reason of insufficient budget and sluggish style of working by the contractors. 

 For too long, the construction of those sports facilities has been haphazard, with no clear plan or criteria. The budget for sports infrastructure is scattered among federal, provincial and local governments. It is imperative that all three tiers of the government invest in the sports facilities with clear policy of coordination. The National Sports Council and the Cricket Association of Nepal have called for a concrete policy on the construction of sports infrastructure. They stress the need for involving provincial and the local government in the building of the sports infrastructure.

 It is a welcome statement by Member Secretary of the Council Tanka Lal Ghishing to hold a meeting of all the stakeholders in making such a policy immediately. The proposed policy by the council can be a step in the right direction. It will establish clear criteria for investment by federal, provincial, local governments and the private sector. This will enable different levels of the government to invest in the sports facilities based on their capacity. The private sector will also be encouraged to invest in sports infrastructure development. 

 Nepal has shown its potential in the sport, and it is crucial to provide the country's cricketers and fans with reliable infrastructure they deserve to take Nepali cricket to newer heights. The authorities must prioritise this and ensure that the funds allocated are used judiciously to develop cricketing infrastructure and facilities that are on par with the world's top class. It is high time that all levels of government, the sports council, and the cricket association work together to develop a clear-cut plan for sports infrastructure development in Nepal. The love of home fans and the national team's success offer an excellent opportunity to uplift Nepali cricket potential. The construction of full-fledged and well-equipped stadiums and other sports facilities will not only benefit cricket but also other sports as well.

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