The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), which is Nepal’s primary cricket governing body, on Wednesday, proposed the Nepal Premier League (NPL), in its Annual General Meeting. The tournament, which thrives to distinct Nepal cricket on the world map, opens new doors for the future of cricket in the country.
Various associate members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), are now planning and executing their own national franchise T20 competitions, and after having had witnessed the bumper growth of cricket in various corners of the world due to such tournaments, this might prove to be a milestone of a lifetime in the growth and development of cricket in Nepal.
For years, the Cricket Association of Nepal has been looking for investors to fuel the necessary infrastructure for the sport in the country. Seven 3 Sports, a company based in Gurugram, India, proved to be the knight in shining armour as Seven 3 Sports has proposed to invest a whopping sum of Rs.420 million for a total of 10 years to acquire the rights of the inaugural Nepal Premier League.
Ever since the news broke out, there has been an ecstatic celebration in the cricket corridors as this sort of a heavy investment was largely awaited by all those who have vested interest in the sport in the country. Lately, major gigantic cricketing boards of the world have suffered financially after the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has broken the backbone of the cricketing world as major cricketing events, tournaments, and bilateral series have either been postponed or suspended indefinitely because of the virus.
However, with the successful completion and conduction of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has arisen a bright ray of hope in millions of cricket fans all across the globe. CAN’s step to form a 10-year strategic partnership with Seven 3 Sports comes at such a time when the world is looking up to boards and organizations who can successfully conduct and organize such a grand level of competition.
Apart from it, Nepal’s cricketers in person will gain a lot of exposure as the league aims to involve foreign cricketers who will blend with the Nepalese cricketers and groom them to take up the centre stage when they take to the field to represent their nation in world cricket.
Apart from NPL, Junior Cricket Championship (JCC) is going to be another tournament that will target the development of grassroots cricket.
Although there is a certain set of people that believes that the deal proves to be a loss on the part of CAN, CAN itself believes that the coronavirus pandemic has succumbed the board and that they couldn’t have acquired a better deal at the moment as sponsors are reluctant to invest their money in the premier franchise T20 competition of the country.
CAN Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakuryal said it had been in correspondence with S3 pre-COVID-19 and situations changed thereafter. “We have been in a situation where the pandemic is certainly not going to help us to lure sponsors who would provide us amount bigger than what is going to be agreed upon with S3,” Pyakuryal told cricketingnepal.com.
“When we began negotiating before COVID-19, it could have been a deal that would fetch us Rs 600 to Rs 650 million. For one single tournament and Junior Cricket Championship, its always going to be a good deal because S3 will also upgrade the facilities,” he added.
“People are questioning CAN’s capability of organising an event of such magnitude but this agreement itself is an answer. If there are resources available then we can make the best use of it and get paid too. CAN will have time to focus on other priorities because organising this tournament is definitely going to take a lot of time,” he said.
Speaking about the commercials involved, the Cricket Association of Nepal is of the firm opinion that they couldn’t have bargained for a better deal in such telling times. As a huge sum of money is proposed to fuel the cricket economy of Nepal, it will certainly help in the development of infrastructure of cricket in the country. The huge investments will also come as a massive boost for all the stakeholders involved as it will help in oiling the complete infrastructure from the grassroots until the top of the tree.
There has also been a lot of talking about the inclusion of foreign cricketers in Nepal’s T20 league competitions and with such heavy commercials involved in the league, it will surely be a child’s play for the Cricket Association of Nepal to lure big foreign players that can team up with the local Nepalese cricketers and contribute to their success in the coming years.
As far as other running T20 cricket tournaments are concerned, Nepal can look up to their neighbouring country, India, where the Indian Premier League is the sole premier franchise T20 competition organized by the BCCI. Apart from it, State cricket bodies and associations keep organizing various T20 league competitions at their level and Nepal can certainly look to adopt the same formula.
To sum up, CAN has taken this decision in the larger interest of Nepal Cricket, its players, cricket lovers and the cricket board. Their decision is aligned with ICC vision of curbing unrecognised T20 leagues and fight corruption. Chatur Bahadur Chand, the President of Cricket Association of Nepal, needs to be congratulated for his visionary approach and his endeavour to bring Nepal on the world map of the cricketing sphere.
Sandeep Lamichhane’s uprise in world cricket has largely helped Nepal make a mark for itself in the global cricketing circuit and the execution of Nepal Premier League will definitely help to produce other generations of future Sandeep Lamichhane.