KATHMANDU, Sept 11: Around 200 Nepali cricket fans were huddled at the parking lot at the Tribhuvan International Airport with garlands in their hands on Tuesday morning.
As the national team captain Paras Khadka and his team emerged out of the international terminal with the glittering ICC World Cricket League Division 4 trophy at noon, the fans went into a frenzy cheering and shouting for their star players.
Television cameras rushed to capture the moment as National Sports Council Member Secretary Yubaraj Lama, Cricket Association Nepal (CAN) General Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakuryal and other officials gave them a hearty welcome. The players were soon seen sharing their experiences with the media persons gathered there.
The thumping of drums and the sonorous tunes of the traditional panche baaza turned the whole atmosphere festive as fans danced and sang to their heart´s content.
A group of fans demanded that the sports authority provide players with cash incentives and construct an international cricket ground.
Yet another group of fans chipped in with a bottle of champagne. Colors were thrown at each other before the cricketers posed for photographs with national flags in their hands.
"It was a real excitement to welcome the national team that has brought home glory," said Birat Raya, who heads the Nepali Cricket Fan Club. "It took almost an hour for the players to emerge out of the terminal but none of the fans budged an inch before the players came out," he added.
The cricketers´ joy knew no bounds, too. "This is the heartiest welcome I have received in my cricketing career," said Binod Das, former team captain. "It really feels good that our performance has been appreciated," he added.
Das said the faith of fans had added to their responsibility. "We have been doing well now but it may not be the same every day. We expect our fans to support us even in tough times," said Das.
Nepali national team had won the ICC World Cricket League Division 4 trophy on Monday in Malaysia defeating USA by five wickets in the final. Nepal won all the six matches of the tournament to win the trophy and to ensure its berth in Division 3.
After securing the promotion, Nepal will vie in Division 3 in April 2013. The Division 3 is scheduled to be held in Bermuda, where Nepal will meet Oman, Uganda, Italy and the newly promoted USA along with the host.
The top two teams of Division 3 would be promoted to Division 2 and the teams in Division 2 will get a chance to play a World Cup qualifying tournament which will be played between 10 teams.
CAN announces cash prize
Meanwhile, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) praised the national team´s performance and decided to provide the team members with Rs 30,000 each in incentives. The executive committee meeting of CAN on Tuesday took the decision to this effect. CAN has also asked the government to provide cash incentives to the players.