Remarkable Nepal…

In the 2 practice matches so far in the U19 WC, Nepal has managed to win both beating Scotland and Namibia. Both the victories were fairly comprehensive. What is interesting about these victories is that Nepal, the Asia U19 qualifier, managed to beat the European champs and the African champs at the U19 level. So now one asks the question, what exactly is the standard of Malaysia U19??; the team that lost the ACC final to Nepal 3 months back. Is it better than Scotland/ Ireland/ Namibia/ Uganda? Is it fair to them that they were second behind Nepal and they didnt make the world cup were as other teams which are much worse than Nepal as well are there?

There definitely is a case for a world league even at the U19 level. But I think that given the ICC funds, and given India’s non negotiating stance on their profits, the ICC can be condoned for not going ahead with it. However, there definitely is a case for expanding the total number of teams in the U19 World Cup to 20 as I mentioned in my post below.

Nepal actually has been a classic. Even in the ACC tournament, the comprehensive manner in which they were brushing aside sides was equivalent of how the test teams from Asia would have particiapted. At that age level, they are definitely going to be competitive, and in this tournament, they appear to be the only serious contenders to cause an upset. Regarding their victories over Scotland and Namibia, they have been remarkable primarily because both Scotland and Namibia have been on ICC high perforamnce program, and although I understand that the money and other benefits do not directly benefit the U19 players, they do so indirectly in terms of the national team having much more exposure etc to be able to help out the junior players. Also the cricket structure is much better in these countries as well.

What ACC needs to do is that after the ACC U19 tournament, they need to hold an U19 Asia Cup. The four test countries are very strong at this level, and in addition to that, they have play Nepal and the other highest ranking finalist from that tournament. The round robin structure would give terrific workout and practice to the nations ahead of future U19 World Cups. Perhaps ACC can also make it an annual event.

The performance of Nepal, the crowd support in Nepal etc. are the main reason why the ICC has recently taken the decision to include Nepal in the playoff for the Intercontinental Cup. I have mentioned in some of my posts before that Nepal has been getting the short end of the stick due to some faulty ICC tournament formats etc. This is a good pay back, although I would not like the ICC to go ahead and make too much investment in Namibia until they show some mainstream black africanĀ Namibians in their ranks; hence I would have preferred if they had given the go to Nepal outright. In any case, I hope that Nepal goes ahead and beats Namibia to qualify for Intercontinental Cup 2006.

It seems that I was wrong about Zimbabwe standards. They still look to be very competitive at this level. They still managed to thrash Uganda, and then come as close as 3 runs against Bangladesh. I wonder why they performed in such a pathetic manner in the Afro Asia U19 tournament a while back. Nonetheless, all the matches of Group D in the U19 WC seem to be very interesting prospects, as I am not sure what is going to happen. I am not sure about Group A or B either. Only Group C seems to be the normal one with, in my opinion, India and Sri lanka making it through without much problem.

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