Discovering Som Pal : A Fairytale Journey

July 3, 2014 , by DREAMS, Leave your thoughts
Discovering Som Pal : A Fairytale Journey » My Dreams Mag

A diminutive figure with a height of just over 5′ 8″, Som Pal Kami was not even in Nepali cricket’s picture until the last one year. Then came a tournament that turned everything on its head. Som Pal terrorized the batsmen with his accurate pace during an unofficial journey to World Cup event. Som Pal made his point and a slingshot from coach Pubudu Dassanayake saw him take a biggest shortcut of his life.


Three months after he introduced himself to the domestic cricket, Som Pal headed for the country’s biggest 50-over tournament in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand as the front-line seamer. His story seems to be a fairytale.


Born to a middle class family at the Western part of Nepal in Gulmi, Som Pal had to leave for India after his father’s struggle for bread and butter took him to Punjab. Living in a country obsessed with cricket, Som Pal’s relation with bat and ball wouldn’t be taken for granted. From school cricket to Indian Premier Corporate League, Som Pal honed his skills in India as a product of Punjab Cricket Academy.


During a talent hunt from the Punjab Cricket Association, Som Pal exhibited his bowling prowess that was enough to impress world cricket’s leading figures. He was able to earn praise from legendary Australian wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist and world’s most fearsome bowler Dale Steyn.


But Som Pal’s existence as a fast bowler was never to be certified in an Indian cricket where cut throat competitions victimize even the best players. And one of the coaching staffs from the PCA gave him a timely reminder where he deserves the best place.


“You bowl really well. But the competition here is really tough. Why don’t you go and try out your luck in Nepal? You might have a good future their,” Som Pal recalls the advise lent by the coaching staff.


Som Pal built contact with the Nepali Cricket Fan Club (NCFC), the most active group in Facebook involving cricket enthusiasts, and headed for an uncertain journey to Nepal. He played district level selection tournaments from NCFC cricket team that helped him make cut for the Kathmandu squad for the national tournament.


Som Pal KamiWith bowling his major asset in the game, Som Pal got even one step further slamming two back-to-back centuries in district level underlining his all round credentials. Though Som Pal-involved Kathmandu team failed to make a mark in the National, he had done enough to catch the eye of the selectors and one man particularly impressed by his bowling talent was coach Pubudu Dassanayake.


Yet to cross his teen age, Som Pal was picked up for the ACC U-19 Asia Cup that was held in UAE. It was the time when Nepal was scripting history in November’s ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers making it through to their maiden World Twenty20. As history unfolded in UAE in November, a glorious story for Som Pal was already penned.


Acknowledging the fact that the national team was short of a full fledged seamer, Dassanayake made up his mind to take the biggest risk of his life and catapulted Som Pal into the senior fold. Dassanayake wanted to have a final test of his own decision and named Som Pal in the starting-XI for the Journey to World Cup.


A success-hungry Som Pal delivered picking up 10 wickets from four matches in the Journey to World in December. The performance prompted Dassanayake to pull out Som Pal from the U-19 squad and named him in the final 15 for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand in January this year.


Som Pal made the biggest shortcut of his life. And how can he go into a long retrospection when he lived his history like the flash of a light. He still thinks he is an accidental protagonist of this fairy-tale.


“Looking back at the past, it obviously seems a fairy-tale to me. I cannot believe how things unfolded for me,” says Som Pal with a distorted Nepali accent. “Playing in the World Cup had always been a dream for me. When the coaches and officials here appreciated me for my game, deep inside I felt that I will make it to the national fold but never in my distant dreams I thought it would happen so fast,” he said.


The team think tank, Dassanayake and skipper Paras Khadka, were heavily criticized for involving an inexperienced rookie for the World Cup Qualifiers. Som Pal had headed for New Zealand without playing a single international tournament, not even at the age level. But he himself had other ideas.


In a tournament where almost every other experienced campaigners flopped, Som Pal impressed by picking up eight wickets. His achievement had to be lauded considering he was inexperienced. At a time when national team and Nepal’s cricket fraternity was celebrating back to back success at international stage, World Cup Qualifier was a tournament where Nepal was humiliated. But Som Pal was not to blame.


Som Pal had replaced experienced seamer Amrit Bhattarai for the World Cup Qualifiers and once again the fast bowling sensation was picked up for the ICC World Twenty20, a platform where he proved to be the most lethal bowler of the country.


When the whole country went into a euphoria with the World Twenty20 participation, Som Pal gave bowlers a hard time with his fiery pace up front. He was among the pick of the Nepali performers returning with four wickets. In Nepal’s third match against Associate arch-rivals Afghanistan, Som Pal recorded a speed of 141kmph. Nepal now have a front line seamer who can lead the way for new fast bowling generation.

Som Pal Kami


Riding Luck To Glory


There were many people who considered Som Pal lucky after he sneaked into the team. He was lucky and the immense talent made him fortunate. For a man who has just stepped in, the onus was on Som Pal to not only assure he has got talent but also sent a confirmation note that he could get the better of the other existing fast bowlers.


Som Pal outpaced the other fellow fast bowlers and having an advantage of batting, he was no doubt a unanimous pick. And since then there has been no turning back.


Not keeping account of the unofficial Journey to World Cup tournament, Som Pal has already gone on to pick up 27 wickets from his firs three tournaments for the national team. His last appearance in the ACC Premier League was a dream tournament for him where he took 15 wickets and was named the best bowler at the completion.


In presence of lanky and fearsome Afghanistan, UAE and Hong Kong bowlers, Som Pal stood tall among all. His performance was a huge relief to Nepal camp, which has been struggling to find a pace bowler who can return with five-for in a single match. Som Pal’s best bowling in the ACC Premier League was 5-47 against Malaysia. The figures was best for any Nepali fast bowler after almost half decade.



Leading The Generation


Skipper Paras believes Som Pal can inspire a new generation of fast bowlers. “Looking at his physique one can hard say he can bowl so quick. That shows fast bowling is not only about build up but timing and rhythm. He of course can be the leader of the new generation of Nepali fast bowling,” said Paras, himself the second medium pace bowler in the team.

Som Pal Kami

Paras’s presumption for his extra ordinary bowling talent contrary to his diminutive figures seems to be spot on. “He has good inner muscles so that is what helps him work better. He has that clean action and timing followed by right attitude. As of now he has fulfilled the gap.”


“He has proved himself and need to groom with better and with fast bowlers’ fitness issue, he has to be super fit which is is now. But with growing stages and number of games, he has to maintain better,” added the national team leader.


Dassanayake is well known for spotting talents and using them in the best possible way by giving them a particular role in the team. Som Pal has been instilled a huge amount of aggression as a role of the strike bowler who targets the most attacking batsmen of the opponents. The coach defines him as the latest talent to be discovered.


“Som Pal is the biggest talent that we have discovered in Nepal. There are still more talents coming in but his arrival has been in perfect timing. We were short of a strike bowler and Som Pal has justified that role. He has got the pace and bounce which Nepal had been missing for a quite a long time,” said Dassanayake.


Som Pal has not gone through that big hardship that most of the cricketers in Nepal have gone through. However, the simplicity he has been carrying off the field always defines how important the heights scaled has been for him. He has story of a person who works hard and dedicates himself until positive results are out.




Image Source/Credit: www.cricketingnepal.com 

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