Nepali National Cricket Team

Cricket in Nepal has gained popularity over the years and has become the most popular and widely followed sport in the country.

It rapidly grew in popularity in the mid-2010s following the country’s explosive growth due to the modest success of the Nepalese cricket team as well as the influence of social media and television viewing from neighboring India. It is played by many people across the country especially in the Terai region.

The national cricket team’s biggest achievement was reaching the 2014 ICC World T20 qualifiers in Bangladesh. Nepal’s sports season runs from September to November and resumes in March before ending in May. As of October 2023, there were 3400 senior cricket clubs and over 35000 registered players in Nepal.

the beginning
In 1920, Lieutenant General Madan Shamsher Jabra, the youngest son of Rana Prime Minister Maharaja Chandra Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana, introduced cricket to Nepal for the first time. But at that time, cricket was considered a ‘gentleman’s game’, so it was restricted to members of the ruling Rana family and some upper classes of Nepal. The Nepal Cricket Association was founded in 1946 to promote cricket among the aristocracy, although the game was restricted to themselves and other members of the upper class.

After the introduction of democracy through the revolution of 1951, cricket began to spread to the rest of the population. In 1961, in an effort to promote cricket throughout Nepal, the Nepal Cricket Association became part of the National Sports Council. However, the national sports were limited to Kathmandu only until the 1980s

ICC and ACC membership
Improvements in communication and transport infrastructure in Nepal allowed the game to expand beyond Kathmandu in the 1980s, [2] and Nepal became an associate member of the ICC in 1988. A major development program began in the early 1990s, including regional and district tournaments and promotion of cricket in schools. Nepal became an associate member of ACC in 1990 and a full member in 1994.

Interest in cricket grew rapidly in the 1990s, and the demand for the game was such that the number of teams in the tournament was restricted until more facilities could be built.

Nepal became an associate member of the ICC in 1996 when the national team played for the first time in the ACC Trophy held in Kuala Lumpur. In this tournament, Nepal defeated Brunei and Japan and finished fourth among the six teams in the first round group. The highlight of this era was the historic win against Bangladesh in the 1999 ACC Trophy.

Although Nepal secured a place in the 2002 Asia Cup, it could not participate in the Asia Cup due to India-Pakistan tensions. In 2004-2008, Nepal was at the height of U19. New Zealand has been defeated in the U-19 World Cup. A turning point came in 2008 when they won the ICC World Cricket League Division Five title.

Nepal played their first T20I World Cup in Bangladesh in 2014 where they defeated Hong Kong and Afghanistan. There, the fan following of the Nepali cricket team is increasing day by day.

In the 2016 U19 World Cup, Nepal reached the quarterfinals with a good performance. In 2018, Nepal received ODI recognition for another 5 years after their win against PNG in the ICC ODI World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.

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