Bhawana Ghimire is the First CEO of CAN (Cricket Association of Nepal.) A self motivated, a visionary and a long-term goal oriented person brings her Business Administration and Marketing skills at the table of Nepalese Cricket. Within just few months of her joining, Nepali Cricket saw an escalation in their Cricket arena which included rewarding 22 National Cricketers with Central Contract, initiating a tribute match for Late Philip Hughes which was appreciated by Cricket Australia. She later signed a sponsorship deal with Nepal Telecom and initiated a project named "Bat for Nepal" appealing Global Cricket Communities to support Earthquake affected Nepal. Bhawana understands the importance of developing grass root cricket, involving schools and colleges to experience an uplift in the status of game. Throughout the interview, she stresses on nurturing Domestic Cricket Setup. Bhawana has blue prints ready that would ensure a positive escalation throughout the Nepalese Cricket Community and also plans to elevate Women Cricket, which according to her, has a stupendous potential. Promoting Nepal Cricket is also on her charts by introducing Franchise based premier leagues and vibrant domestic leagues. Also getting more Sponsorships and stakeholders on board would give a better resource base to the entire CAN. Nepal Cricket under her leadership will also get to see advanced Regional, National and International Competitions. A big fan of Nepalese Cricket, Bhawana has proved her mettle so far and has prudently taken care of CAN. We wish Cricket Nepal and Bhawana Ghimire all the very best in future endeavours.
1. How does it feel to be in a role, which is known to be led by a male?
I had worked in diverse multi-cultural environment in Europe and even longer in Middle East too. I had never find me inferior to anyone and I was always driven with targeted goals. Of course, after being a CEO of CAN, many questions related to gender have been fired to me, I feel I am proud with my role and I am confident of myself.
2. How did you get into this role? Was serving Cricket industry on your list?
It was a normal process, I applied for the post and battled the exams (case study as a written test and a longest interview I had in my life); I got my recruitment in Nepal’s cricket governing body.
I was never a specialized cricket administer before. But I had witnessed administration review of club (mostly football), sports association’s tie-ups, sponsorships, event management and takeover of European clubs.
3. What is most challenging thing about your job as CEO of Cricket Association of Nepal?
I see every people love cricket in Nepal and I’ve been getting adequate support from all our national and international stakeholders. If we could have a stable executive committee/board for CAN then it will be much easier to execute our plan in a congenial environment. With small team (4 desk staff) we have been managing everything for day to day operation at CAN and I have been involved in all affairs related to cricket.
More than CEO, my role is seen to be limited as consultant for CAN but I am sure I will get explicit responsibilities and authorities shortly.
4. How do you plan to uplift Junior Cricket and what are Junior programmes running throughout Country?
The CAN will focus on systematic arrangement of cricket at different levels to promote decentralized distribution of games throughout Nepal through the programs as:
· Grass root Programmes
I’ve been proposing my board to approve the program Like Milo in Cricket Australia
· Inter Schools Competition
Elementary Level Cricket
Primary Level Cricket
Secondary Level Cricket
· Inter-College Competition
Higher Secondary Level
Inter College Cricket Tournament
Inter-University Cricket Cup
· Junior Club Cricket
· Involvement of multiple districts/District Cricket
· Regional Competitions
· National Competitions
· International Competitions
§ We have been working together with the Education Department, the CAN will continue to promote participant base of the game throughout Nepal.
§ CAN aims to establish congenial relationship with PABSON, NPABSON, HSEB, and Universities.
§ The CAN will enthusiastically give chance to new and emerging talents from all corners of Nepal by conducting matches nationwide.
5. How important is school cricket in the development of the game? What measures are being taken to
promote School Cricket?
School cricket is very crucial.
· We shall have three levels in school cricket and there will be interschool competitions. For 2016, two age groups – Under 15 and Under 19 – will be prioritized most.
· All schools in every district should have mandatory infrastructure and facilities for cricket. Government, Board and CAN shall look into this. If any school fails to comply with that, it shouldn’t be allowed to take part in any school tournament. However, the mandatory things should not be too rigid or cumbersome for schools to put in place.
· School tournaments shall be of two types: League and Knock-out.
· Maximum of 20 schools from each district shall be allowed to participate to maintain the standard of cricket.
· Intra district tournaments shall lead to the inter district one in a given region / state.
· Intra region / state tournaments shall lead to the inter region / state one at a national level to help schools vie for becoming the ‘School of Nepal’.
· U-15 tournaments should be of T20 for knock-out and 30 overs a side affair for league, while U-19 tournaments shall be T20 for knock-out and 40 overs a side affair for league.
6. How about Women's Cricket in Nepal? What steps needs to be taken in order to promote Women Cricket.
Our Women’s Team made international debut in the ACC Women's Tournament in Malaysia in July 2007. Nepal has been participating in various international tournaments since then. They did very well to reach the final of the 2007 ACC Women's Tournament. Nepal won the 2008 ACC Under-19 Women's Championship and defended its title in 2010. Also Nepal holds the title of ACC Under-19 Women's Championship in 2012 held in Kuwait as well.
During 2014 Asian Games our performance was below semi-final.
To promote women’s cricket, we need to increase the number of tournaments at both local and international level. We are also planning to enrol women’s cricketers in a payroll system which will ensure their career. Beyond, Nepal Telecom, we are seeking sponsorships for Women’s cricket that can also be a part of social transformation. Further specialized coaching for Women team will also be in focus. I have planned that CAN will deliver development opportunities to over 20,000 girls in our introductory programme by the end of 2016. Subsequently, we are closely working with our clubs and volunteers to enable them to progress players to the hard ball game. We also aspire to start Women’s National League within 2016.
7. What do you hope to accomplish during your term as CEO of Cricket Association of Nepal? Which key areas do you work in?
I’ve been stressing the demarcation of management and board. At policy level, board should work and for day to day operations, management must take control under board’s supervision. If it can be done as earliest, I am pretty much sure I can drive CAN to honour as a best managed institution of Nepal.
As I have outlined major 7 blocks to improve our cricket in Nepal. These are;
· Extensive capacity development of CAN
· Develop vibrant domestic structure
· Build Infrastructure and Increase Facilities
· Focus on High Performance
· Leading the sports
· Creating the sound financial resource base
· Substantially increase participation in cricket
8. What is Nepal Cricket capable of?
Nepal’s cricket is capable to unite this beautiful country in an umbrella which can transmit the message of peace, equitable supremacy & proud people. As cricket has been perceived as the most vibrant and popular game of the Nation, it is becoming our culture. If we can nurture it prudently, we can make our country capable of playing test cricket within 10-12 years.
9. What do you bring to Nepal Cricket? What have been the highlights during your involvement in Nepali cricket?
- I do not want to talk more about internal organizational changes here.
- We have historically assigned 22 players in a contract. Sponsorship has also been increased by more than 10 times. We expressed our greatest tribute to Late Phillip Hughes. We have proved CAN is capable of organizing premier events collecting remarkable sponsorships. Develop relationships with international cricket boards and training academies including Cricket Australia, BCCI, MCC, SLC Board, MRF Pace Foundation, and many local and international agencies. We have initiated BAT FOR NEPAL campaign appealing cricketing world to fight against devastating earthquake in Nepal. Successfully partnered/organized Nepal Vs. World XI charity match under BAT FOR NEPAL banner. Exposure of international tours for players has been adequately focused for senior teams and U19 teams (including Srilanka, South Africa, India, UK including MCC tours and other agreements). I have been trying my best effort to engage our players in international friendly series/games during when we failed to organize tournaments locally due to aftermath earthquake effects and maintenance. Recently, our Dubai tour is going to be historic bunch of tournaments for Nepal’s team that include test playing nation like Pakistan and other associate nations.
- Most importantly, I have developed blueprint to develop cricket in Nepal for 5 years.
10. What are the areas for improvement you see to be necessary in Nepal’s cricket?
We are focusing to enhance our internal capacity. As program for domestic structure, academies, and coaching, high performance and club structures has already been drafted, we are waiting it for the execution. Just we require an environment to implement it. I am pretty sure 2016 would be the year of cricket and we will celebrate it.
11. Do you feel India, Pakistan and Bangladesh could do more for cricket in Nepal?If Yes, how?
We want to promote Nepal as a superior neutral venue in long term. Therefore relationship with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other test playing country means a lot for us. Our sub-continent nation can make significant impact in our developments. For instance, out of 9 regional associations structured under CAN, 7 regions do share open boarder to India. I am trying to bridge those tied-regional teams to have regular bi-lateral matches between two nations, and we require support from India as well. At the same time, involving our players in sub-continents (Pakistan, Bangladesh ,Srilanka ) domestic leagues would strengthen our potentials to different level.
At the same time, relationship with non-test playing country is equally important for us.
12. If you were a player, which country would you most like to play in and why?
I will definitely play for Nepal with a dream to take a team to world cup. But I am impressed with Women Cricket in Ireland.
13. We heard about the project "Bat for Nepal" to work as a relief project after earthquake. How did this impact in the development?
“Bat for Nepal” is a symbolic and joint relief initiative to unite cricketing stakeholders in need. After the earthquake, we made appeals to international cricket boards and eventually I realized the strength of cricketing bond. Cricket Association of Malaysia, BCCI, KNCB, HK, Thailand Cricket Association and cricketing community from Japan, Italy and UK helped Nepal. Playing a charity match under Bat for Nepal banner with World XI team in Malaysia was wonderful wave for Nepal’s team. It has psychologically made our players strong and also our small effort helped those needy hands who were affected from earthquake. We are also rebuilding some of the affected facilities out this project.
14. One thing where Nepal Cricket needs to put their major attention would be?
Domestic setup, Domestic Setup and Domestic Setup
I feel embarrassed sometime with our peer associated members and their structure, but if we gear up with our potentials, we have stronger development foundations than other associate members like fan support/enthusiasm, corporate support, media publicity and government concerns and budget. At CAN’s hand, we have bigger tournaments but it seems we are lost. After my appointment, I took my board to sign NDA for premier league with one of the biggest companies in Nepal, it means sponsors are ready to sponsor. My plan is to enforce CAN organize franchise based premier league and allocate the income of it to promote additional domestic league and regional associations. Further, we have also signed a contract with Nepal Telecom to host Nepal Telecom Champions Trophy – Nepal’s biggest prize cricket tournaments, we have President Cup and tournaments run by National Sports Council. If we can integrate and add few more tournaments from school level to senior level, we would be a big producer of cricketers which I already mentioned in my five year plan too. The biggest problem with our association is that, we are not able to promote regional associations and even regional associations are passive, not eager to bring proactive programs/proposals. It is high time to stimulate without any delays. The sense of competition between communities to club to associations can make a huge difference.
15. One message that you would like to convey to all the Cricket developing Countries?
As you know we have only 10 full Test playing nations. But the good part of cricket is that we have large number of associate members (38) and even greater number of affiliate members (57). It means the roadmap to surge further from larger group to higher group is all determined by our own performance in number of tournaments and results, our structure and great spirit of cricket. Since cricket is becoming globally more competitive, we should be passionate to promote it taking exposure of ICC member countries, regulators, sponsors, supporters and the stakeholders.
16. Would you like to nominate a Cricket Club from Nepal, for a free Website from Global Cricket Community.? If Yes, please name the club and give a short intro of the same.
Club ecosystem for cricket in Nepal is not yet been professionally structured and regulated. But of course, I do nominate Balwatar Cricket Club (BCC).