By Bhupendra GC
After returning back home from the ICC World Cup League-2 Tri-Series ODI, the skipper of the Nepali National Cricket Team Sandeep Lamichhane stated that they have failed as things didn’t go as per their plans.
During the tour to Scotland, Nepal lost three out of four matches. Nepal lost all the three games due to inadequate batting.
‘The visit to Scotland didn’t go as per our expectation. Getting an opportunity to play continuously was also a positive aspect for us. Perhaps, we have not been able to capitalize it. Although we didn’t prepare very well, we got opportunities to play matches with excellent teams one after another’, said Sandeep after landing in Nepal.
‘We left Nepal with some plans and adequate preparations. But as a team we failed’, said Sandeep. Nepal lost all of the three matches due to terrible batting. Batting has always been a major problem of the team.
Skipper Lamichhane says that the team needs to be mentally prepared. ‘This is a psychological problem which should be changed gradually. This is a young team. The team depends on the condition. There was a new condition for all the players as well. When we face tough challenges, there is where we can increase our game standard by performing well,’ said Lamichhane. Nepal played in Scotland for the first time since 2015. Karan KC and Sompal Kami are the only players available in the team who played in Scotland back then.
Under the captaincy of Sandeep, Nepal had lost 9 out of 14 ODI matches played. ‘I prefer to be a player rather than a captain. When the team loses, I lose alongwith. Yes, since I started to lead the team, results are not in our favour but I still believe this team is yet to give the best results.”, said Sandeep.
He added, ‘Players have potential. The players are suffering to play to the level of their potential. We ourselves can analyze where we made mistakes. The coach also did best from his end. Everyone tried to give their best.’
With the recent poor performance, the role of head coach Pubudu Dasanayake has also been questioned by many. Sandeep expresses that it is not only the coach’s fault.
‘It is obvious that everyone gets hurt when a match doesn’t meet expectations. We have to accept this fact. It is natural to receive encouragement and scoldings from the supporters when we perform well and below par respectively. Talking about the coach, due to him the team has performed well as well. We have had a problem with batting since a long time ago, the fault has only been noticed now”, Sandeep stated.
‘Not only the coach, but we the players are equally responsible for the substandard performance. Because we are the ones who play. The coach will set forth the plans and prepare us to perform as per the plan.’ he added.
Recently, many queries are arising regarding the unity of the team. But Sandeep has been frequently saying that the team is united. Nepal has 16 more matches of the ICC World Cup League 2 in hand. Eight of the 16 matches will be played at home ground and the remaining four each will be played in Papua New Guinea and Namibia respectively.
‘There is good unity in the team. We are on a good track. It is better to correct the mistakes now rather than to regret it later. There are still 16 games left to rectify the mistakes. We have to win the remaining matches to save Nepali cricket,” Sandeep vocalized.
The biggest problem of Nepali cricket since 2019 is irresponsible batting. The prime reasons for the defeat are considered to be poor batting. But the major problem is: there are no signs of improvement. Sandeep says that it may be due to frequent changes in the team.
‘We gave opportunities to many new players on this tour. There were limited experienced players in the team. Rohit is a quality player. Dipendra is also an excellent player. There are other superior players in the team as well. Rather than being irresponsible, we need to analyze how to improve our batting standard.’ Sandeep stated.
In the third match against Namibia, Nepal benched Karan KC and gave Pawan Saraaf an opportunity. Nepal lost to Namibia by 63 runs due to the unavailability of a fine third bowler. Sandeep says that it was the team’s decision to make that change.
Nepal is at the bottom of the competition points table with 17 points from 20 matches with 8 wins and 11 losses. Nepal must win all of the remaining matches to conclude the competition remaining in the top three. Nepal must win more than 10 games from 16 available to stay in the top five.