Binaya Raj Pandey became President of the Cricket Association of Nepal in September 2006, having previously been an Honorary Secretary of the Association for 39 years. Small in stature, soft-spoken and exquisitely mannered, he brings with him the shrewdest of minds, the most adroit diplomatic skills and an ability to slowly but surely, get things done.
We spoke to him in Kuala Lumpur soon after the start of his term in office when he sought to outline his plans to overhaul cricket in Nepal to the ACC Secretariat. On his return to Kathmandu things indeed started happening – major sponsorships were announced, domestic cricket was revamped and work was started on a new training centre for national cricketers.
First off, why has it taken you 39 years to become President, when surely you may have been ready after only 29 years for example?
Well, cricket in Nepal only became a serious sport in the past ten years or so and in that time and before the previous CAN President, Mr. Jai Kumar Nath Shah personally executed his duties most satisfactorily. In recent years however, the focus for Nepal has changed. We have found that we can get up to one point but no further and it was felt by the National Sports Council that the time had come to give Nepal cricket some fresh opportunity to reach the heights it is capable of.
|Nepal’s recent triumphs:
2006: U-19 World Cup Plate
2005: ACC U-19 Cup
2006: ACC U-15 Elite
2005: ACC U-15 Cup
What is Nepal cricket capable of?
We can play in the Asia Cup and the World Cup. We can win senior finals. Right now we are semi-finalists in things like the ACC Trophy. Our U-19s have beaten four Test-countries at U-19 World Cups.
When did you first become aware of cricket?
I think it was in school. I studied in a missionary school and so it was played there. I also played in college and soon I started a club therefore playing regularly.
We hear Mr. Shah was a big cricketer back in the day.
We started together, he became the President and I the Secretary. There wasn’t anyone to organize games and that is how I became involved. So, as a player, for me to play games, I had to organize them.
What do you bring to Nepal cricket?
By profession I am a businessman and I own a few businesses. But I’ve been keen on cricket and that is why I spend so much time on it to see what useful input I can provide so that it becomes a vibrant organization.
What are the areas for improvement you see to be necessary in Nepal’s cricket?
Basically we are following the same pattern as far as the ACC Development Program is concerned. But somewhere in between, the improvements and changes that need to be made in order for the Program to be more effective has been missing. This is a major lapse responsible for Nepal not being where they should be.