KATHMANDU: Dhangadhi, formerly known as the city of cricket, seems losing the identity due to the slackness in the cricket activities of late.
Dhangadhi Premier League (DPL), the glory of Dhangadhi has not been organized for the last two years. DPL 2019 was postponed due to South Asian Games and international cricket. COVID-19 is likely to make it impossible to organized the event this year as well.
The last edition of DPL had taken place in the proposed International Phapla Cricket Stadium. However, the playground is deserted now.
The confusion on who should take ownership of the stadium has resulted in the chaotic situation of the stadium.
The visitors could see an interesting site last Saturday. There were some players of Dhangadhi Cricket Academy practicing in the stadium however the cows, goats and others grazing in the field outnumbered the players.
The locals claim this is the common sight here for the last one year.
Phapla ground has not seen any mega event since the DPL that took place more than two years ago. The pitch that was constructed spending millions is deserted.
The experts share that the coronavirus pandemic has badly struck the sports sector. The hosts of DPL are not exceptions to it. Yet, the players in the Dhangadhi area are practicing cricket in Phapla ground.
The players of the cricket academy reach Phapla for daily practice. Practice there on their own; chase the cattle whenever they reach the pitch.
Kabita Kunwar, the player of national cricket team(women) Laxmi Saud, the member of U-19 Women tea and many male players representing Sudurpaschim Province reach Phapla regularly.
They are grieved at the pathetic situation of the stadium state had invested so much previously.
“We were also at home. We saw the community ground in a mess then, we decided to come here for practice,” Laxmi shared with Khabarhub, “Although the coach has not arrived here, we have been practicing sharing our own experiences.”
Whoever has been there feels very bad seeing the condition of the ground proposed to be developed into an international cricket stadium.
The cricket lovers are sad to know that the budget allocated for the promotion of the ground into an international playground is frozen.
“It’s a relief to share that we can practice here now,” Kavita Kunwar, a member of the national cricket team told Khabarhub, “Two months ago the ground was covered with tall grass and the area had become the grazing field for goats and cows here.”
She told sadly that despite having spacious ground, the players are not able to practice well as the field has ditches here and there.
“There are no facilities for the players, the government says don’t play during the coronavirus period,” the players practicing in the worn-out pitch added, “We are playing hoping we can serve better results in future.
The players cleared the grassy field and made some mending with the pitch on their own as well.
“We cut the grass, improved the pitch, handled the roller on our own, and made it worth practicing though not much attractive,” the players described the changes they have made in the playground that witnessed the budget freeze this year.
“We handle the roller before practice every day. We are trying to keep ourselves fit for the games.”