Nepali women’s cricket team recently lost their first international women’s T-20 series held on its home pitch, TU International Cricket Stadium, Kirtipur. The hosts lost the series to Uganda who are three ranks below Nepal. This event has scaled the status of the Nepali women’s cricket team.
Nepal stand in the 16th rank in women’s ICC T-20 ranking whereas Uganda stands in the 19th. The captain of the Nepali women’s cricket team, Rubina Chhetry, on the occasion, points out five reasons why Nepal lost the series even in the home stadium.
1. The fitness factor
From the beginning of the series, the Nepal women’s cricket team were seen misfielding, eventually losing three matches. “The players repeatedly dropped the catches and were also unable to run properly,” says Chhetry during a press meet. “Our coach Jagat Tamata had alerted us about this from the beginning.”
She adds, “We lost the series due to all these mistakes. We made a lot of misfields. On top of that, our players’ fitness level was also low. Though the players claimed that they even maintained their fitness in the off-season, it didn’t show on the field.” Chhetry believes that all those misfields were conducted due to a lack of fitness.
2. Dry performance from young players
In this series, neither senior nor younger players performed as expected. Rubina Chhetry, Sita Rana Magar and Sarita Magar are among the senior players of the Nepal women’s cricket team. Recently, the Cricket Association of Nepal appointed Indu Burma as the vice-captain replacing Sita Rana Magar.
“Although young players were given chance to play in the international series, they couldn’t perform well,” says Chhetry. “We believed in those young players and gave them a chance to play, but they could not prove themselves even after getting such a big opportunity.”
Further, she says, “Our team has this expectation that senior players like me and Sita Rana Magar would eventually cover for all team members. Of course, we too need to play well, but they too need to realise their responsibility and give their best on the field.”
3. Weak targets
From the beginning of the series, Nepal were not able to set a proper aim for Uganda. Whether it be six overs powerplay, middle over or dead over, Nepal did not make enough runs.
“The players need to analyse properly on the field. Then only they can utilise their skills and take advantage of the situation. Not being able to take advantage on the field is another weakness, which our team needs to improve,” says Chhetry.
Nepal women’s cricket team’s weak batting also played a big role in losing the first match by 16 runs, the second by one wicket and the third by six wickets. From the first match coach, Tamata had pointed out these issues.
Akin to Tamata, Captain Rubina Chhetry also says the team’s batting is weak. Nepal are set to play ICC Asia Cup Qualifiers next month. With this form in batting, it will be very challenging for the Nepali team to play the qualifiers.
4. Lack of tournaments
The current series Nepal played against Uganda is their first international match in one and a half years.
“Due to a long hiatus in training and matches because of the pandemic, the players couldn’t bring good results,” says the captain of the team. This is Nepal’s first international match after they played the T-20 series against Qatar, last year.
“If players compete in matches frequently either in national or international games, the women’s cricket team can improve their performance,” says Chhetry.
5. Low confidence
After Nepal lost three matches against Uganda continuously, Concy Aweko, the captain for Uganda says that the Nepal women’s cricket team members had weak psychology.
“Nepali cricket team are good, but in cricket, the players’ psychology also makes a huge difference in the competition,” says Aweko. “We do not understand the Nepali language, but we felt that Nepali cricketers were unhappy looking at their gestures. So we took advantage of their mindset.”
The captain of the team, Chhetry, also agrees with Aweko.
This story was translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.