8 January 2019: Captain of Nepal’s national cricket team and one of his top lieutenants have given poignant television interview about their hardship as they carry on without salary for two years.
Ironically, the country is currently abuzz with celebrations over a recent announcement about the construction of an “international cricket stadium” for an estimated cost of Rs 3 billion. The approximately $35 million is a massive amount for one of the poorest nations in the world but a celebrity couple, who have already signed contract with the local government, are confident they will have the pitch ready within two and half years.
The comedian-turned philanthropist couple, Sitaram Kattel and Kunjana Ghimire, are hoping they will be able to raise the required funds through donations from Nepalese people both at home and working across the world. The couple’s Dhurmus Suntali Foundation has already completed few housing projects for earthquake survivors, also through donations.
Teasers of the soon to be aired television interview shows the Nepalese cricketing star Sompal Kami talking about the challenges Nepalese cricketers face as they are made to play without regular salaries. “A bat costs Rs 30,000,” the young cricketer says in the video available on YouTube, adding, it is a serious amount of money for any ordinary Nepalese family. Fortunately, his parents still help him out, he adds.
Speaking to host Dil Bhusan Pathak, skipper Paras Khadka says he and his team members were told if they reached ODI status then they would earn so much that “it would be enough for seven generations”.
Judging by the current state of affairs within the Nepalese cricket team, it would be a wonder if they make enough for a month’s expenses.
In another video, captain Khadka states that the country’s cricket officials’ eagerness to perform does not match that of the players themselves who have achieved so much through their sheer determination. Hence, he argued, Nepal’ cricket infrastructure would not be built until and unless the current players progress into managerial positions following their retirement from professional cricket.