Nepal is improving its cricket exposure to the international sphere one step at a time. With the famous Captain Parash Khadka no longer leading the National cricket team, people need a new spark to rejuvenate their cricket enthusiasm. Nepali cricket is still crawling its way the international standards; the players need more exposure to their craft.
One of the most practical ways to improve the quality of our players is to let them play constantly. Yes, back to the basics. No hi-fi training kits or strategies; players need to play and practice to polish their skills. Inter-nation tournaments can provide an excellent stage for competition and expose players to an actual match’s ups and downs. The players can get down and dirty in pursuit of the trophy.
Everest Premier League is the name that is resonating on every sports issue and channel of Nepal. The League’s fever is on its highest charts, and Nepal’s otherwise politically divided youths are all coming under the common sportsmanship umbrella. Like Barclays is the name associated with the English Premier League, Bajaj is the company that supports Everest Premier League from the shadows.
EPL got organized by the EPL Pvt. Ltd, which is a private group under the guidance of Aamir Akhtar. It holds its head high as the biggest tournament in Nepal. The organizers generally start the match in December, according to the northern winter calendar. The game follows the traditional round-robin format, where four teams participate in the playoffs.
The Nepalese people love Everest Premier League, and this is not my opinion. The thousands of spectators every season indicate the love for this particular tournament. The number of attendees in this tournament far exceeds other domestic cricket events. The first edition started in September of 2016 and continues on its sixth franchise with domestic and international players running towards the common goal. The Lalitpur Patriots stand as the defending champions as they stood victorious in the 2018 season.
A Little History
The start of Everest Premier League got public on the 24th of February, 2014, through a press conference at Hotel Raddison. On the 13th of May, 2014, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) pulled out from the organizer title for the Nepali Premier League. Just two years after this sad announcement, EPL got announced. It started on the 24th of September and lasted until the 3rd of October on the famous T.U. Cricket ground.
Regarding the organizer debate for NPL, then-President Tanka Angbuhang stated his remorse in a public event. He further added that the decision of discontinuing as an organizer had an unofficial tag behind the scenes. He did not know the decision and always preferred the success of NPL. Supporting the League in 2014 was C.G. Foods, or Wai Wai.
Nonetheless, the EPL is still maintaining its position in the hearts of thousands of Nepali people. Kantipur Gold broadcasted the 2016 tournament; AP1 Television carried the baton from 2017 to 2019, 1Sport continued the tradition for the 2020-2021 seasons, and Himalayan T.V. is currently broadcasting the 2021 season.
The Warriors of this Sports Battle
A cricket team consists of 11 members that play their respective positions on the field. But, the official team count is 15, including the extras. Among them, ten players get chosen through auction. Also, the team organized a talent hunt in their respective cities to filter out the cream players. Each unit also includes three foreign players to support their journey.
The current teams competing in the Everest Premier League are:
1. Bhairahawa Gladiators
Owner: Aditya Shanghai
Captain: Sharad Veswakar
2. Biratnagar Warriors
Owner: Vishal Agrawal
Captain: Karan KC
3. Chitwan Tigers
Owner: Kishore Bhattarai
Captain: Sompal Kami
4. Kathmandu Kings XI
Owner: Tele Holdings Pvt.Ltd
Captain: Sandeep Lamichhane
5. Lalitpur Patriots
Owner: Kishore Maharjan
Captain: Kushal Bhurtel
6. Pokhara Rhinos
Owner: Shahil Agrawal
Captain: Binod Bhandari
The 2016 tournament had some different teams with different leaders, though. They all represented their respective corporate sectors.
1. Vishal Warriors
Owner: Vishal Group
Captain: Paras Khadka
2. Colors X-Factors
Owner: Teletalk Private Limited
Captain: Gyanendra Malla
3. Jagdamba Rhinos
Owner: Shanker Group
Captain: Shakti Gauchan
4. Panchakanya Tej
Owner: Panchakanya Groups
Captain: Sharad Veshwakar
5. Kantipur Gurkhas
Owner: Kantipur Publications
Captain: Basanta Regmi
6. Sagarmatha Legends
Owner: Ghorahi Cements
Captain: Binod Bhandari
Results from the Previous Seasons
- The Panchakanya Tej group took home the 2016 Championship trophy. Sompal Kami grabbed the Player of the series title.
- Biratnagar Warriors won the 2017 season, and Babar Hayat (foreign Player) got awarded the Player of the series title.
- The 2018 season ended with Lalitpur Patriots as the champions. Also, Ravi Inder Singh from India grabbed the Player of the Series title.
This season, the players are equally enthusiastic about the competition. One of the major attractions of this season is the addition of Pakistan’s cricket superstar Shahid Afridi who will be competing for the Kathmandu Kings XI.
As for the current statistics, CHITWAN TIGERS are leading the table with 8 points. Second on the list is BHAIRAWAHA GLADIATORS, with 7 points. POKHARA RHINOS are also level on points with the Gladiators. However, their net run rate is slightly less at 0.236.