Binod Das is the head coach of Nepal’s U-19 cricket team that recently participated in the Youth Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. Nepal’s squad came close to a historic win against the home side, only to fall short by one run. After going down against India, the team had to struggle to beat Malaysia. The squad could not make it to the second round of the tournament, but it did win hearts after the game against Sri Lanka. Even Roy Dias, the coach of the Sri Lanka team, which managed to eke out a win against Nepal, congratulated on our performance. But the team could not play to their potential against India, and they had to put in a lot of effort for the win against Malaysia, against whom Nepal have never conceded a match at the U-19 level.
Onlinekhabar recently caught up with Das to talk about his team’s performance.
How do you rate your team’s performance?
We’d hoped that we’d make it to the second round of the tournament, but that could not happen. I do no feel sad about it because we exited the tournament by putting on a good perormance. Even when we left for Sri Lanka, we’d said to ourselves that we want to give each of our opponents a fight, and that’s what we did.
But we did miss a golden opportunity to make it to the second round, and that makes me a bit sad.
Could you tell us how the game was lost against Sri Lanka?
Against Sri Lanka, we fought till the end. But the result was not in our favour. We played the way we should have played. However, a few mistakes in the field cost us the match. We missed a few regulation catches. But by the end of the match, we were in control.
What do you say about the last over against Sri Lanka?
The ball was straight and directed at the stumps. Dipendra had been connecting well with the ball. The score that he made was because of his judgment. But he missed the ball, and that was unfortunate. That is why I don’t think we have anything to criticise him for.
As coach of the Nepal team, could you tell us how big a gap there is between the skills of our players and those of test-playing nations?
After looking at the way we played, the coaches of both Sri Lanka and India said we deserved a place in the tournament. We were happy to hear that. There were two other associate teams from Singapore and Malaysia, but only Afghanistan and Nepal proved they belonged at the top level.
Roy Dias, who was Nepal’s coach for a long time, was the home side’s coach this time. What did he tell you after the match against Sri Lanka?
He told me that that although Sri Lanka had won the game, we were the real winners of the day. But we know that a win is a win, and a loss is a loss.
After the tournament, do you think there are some players in the team who can get a call for the senior team soon?
Yes, there are a few players who are close to getting that call. I think Dipendra (Singh Airee) is close to being selected for the national squad, which currently lacks a number 6-7 batsman. Dipendra now has the numbers behind him to claim a spot in the senior side. As a matter of fact, he also enjoys bowling in the death overs.
But playing for the senior side is a different ball game, the stakes are higher, and it is difficult to carry the same form to a higher form of cricket. I believe ther are others also who can make it to the national side in the near future.
Photos: Shreedhar Paudel