MAHENDRANAGAR, Feb 26: Nepali national cricket team, preparing for the ICC World T20 Qualifiers to be held in the UAE in March, was undergoing through a closed camp training in Kathmandu but now all the players are in Mahendranagar to participate in the Sixth National Games.
The Sixth National Games could have been a good practice tournament for the players had the National Sports Council and local organizers prepared better grounds.
The NSC invested Rs 2.8 million to prepare a ground near Kanchanpur Covered Hall, where men´s cricket will be played. Likewise, NSC invested Rs 250,000 to develop another cricket ground at the premises of Zonal Police Office.
The national team will definitely get turf pitches and smooth grounds on UAE in the ICC event but they will have to play the Sixth National Games on the artificial pitches (mat). Meanwhile, the outfields barely have grass on it and the ground level is not properly maintained. The ground at the Police Office is relatively better but there is also an artificial pitch on it.
"Fielding would be a risky job on this ground. No one can dive on this ground to save boundaries and players can pick injury while fielding because of the uneven surface," said Manjeet Shrestha, a former national team cricketer and player of the Eastern Region.
A Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) source said that they had asked national team players not to participate in the Sixth National Games since they were under closed camp training but Armed Police Force, which enrolls most of the national team players, objected to the idea.
Meanwhile, CAN Vice-president Chatur Bahadur Chand complained that the NSC didn´t consult the association before preparing the ground.
"NSC and local organizers didn´t consult the CAN, and now their inexperience is turning into a costly affair," said Chand. "We have informally asked players to keep their safety a priority and not sustain injury by attempting tough fielding," he added.
NSC Member Secretary Yuvaraj Lama said that the ground could not be maintained up to the required level because of the National Games´ deadline.
"We were forced to start the ground development works in the last hour because of technical reasons and we´ve developed the ground from zero to a playable stage," said Lama.