Australian cricket great Brett Lee on Friday said that passion for the game among Nepalis and exposure combined with right mentorship would be vital for transformation of the country’s cricket.
Lee, who was named the mentor for the first country’s first ever official franchise cricket League Nepal T20, said: “I see passion in Nepal. I have travelled all over the world to watch cricket. I spent a lot of time in India and my home country in Australia. But the passion here is really high and they are going to get better and better.”
“Once the players get the right coaching mechanisms, ways to watch the game and mentorship there’s no reason why we can’t grow this game over here because there is talent in the country.”
The former Australian fast bowler who has played all three formats of game—Test, One-Day International and Twenty20—for his country said that he was excited regarding the prospect of cricket in future. “I’m just so excited to see the way cricket is going to improve in Nepal, not over the next twelve months, but over the next five years in general. And it’s going to be wonderful to be part of this programme,” he said at a media interaction.
The Nepal T20, to be organised by the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and managed by Indian company Seven3Sports, featuring six teams is scheduled from September 24 to October 20.
Seven3Sports managing director Jatin Ahluwalia, said that a star player like Lee could be an inspiration for a lot of youth cricketers to do better. “Lee would be a mentor to the whole event. He would analyse the tournament as a whole and also serve as mentor to all teams, players and coaches,” said Ahluwalia adding that he would visit Nepal during the tournament. “He, however, won’t stay for the entire tournament due to his other commitments. But he will be available virtually whenever we need him.”
“I am looking forward to young cricketers who are going to be on the show shortly,” said the 45-year-old Lee who was also named brand ambassador of mobile app Ssixer that would be the official app for the tournament.
Lee arrived in Nepal on Thursday and left for India on Friday, also lauded the warm welcome he received in the country. “It’s my first trip to Nepal, but I loved the hospitality and generosity of all the local people,” said Lee, who had a glittering international career for more than a decade from 1999 to 2012.
When quizzed which format of the cricket would be better for an emerging cricketing nation like Nepal, Lee said, “Whatever format it is, it’s important that kids play cricket. The T20 format is fresh and exciting and it doesn’t have to go through five days. But Test cricket is important. One-Day cricket is also important. But it’s T20 cricket at the moment because that’s what the young boys and girls want to play.”
Talking about lack of fast bowler friendly South Asian pitch, he said: “There are low and slow wickets predominantly. But there’s no reason why we can’t produce nice wickets that will be conducive to fast bowling. I think that the conditions over here are perfect to produce nice wickets. We should offer something for the fast bowlers to encourage young fast bowlers.”
The Australian also said that he had seen Nepali players in different competitions (on screen). “Hopefully I will have a chance to come back very shortly.”