Paras Khadka, who stepped down as captain of the national cricket team, is not playing the series against MCC. However, Khadka, who is preparing to go to Dubai to play the T-10 league, is ever-present at the TU Cricket Ground to cheer up his teammates.
On Wednesday, Onlinekhabar’s Raj Kumar Shrestha caught up with Khadka and spoke to him about why he didn’t play this series, his aspiration in the T-10 league and his future plans. Excerpts:
The team you’ve captained for a decade is playing right now but you’re not a part of it. How does it feel to watch the team from the stands?
When I resigned I had said that I wanted a break from international cricket. That is why I’m not playing. But as a player, it doesn’t feel great to not be playing. If you talk to any player, they will tell you that they want to be playing. When you play, the feeling is different from that when you are on the sidelines. But I’m enjoying watching our boys play in whites. It’s been a while since Nepal played three-day cricket, which in itself is good for us going forward.
Don’t you think the team needs you during this transition phase? Why aren’t you playing?
I’d asked the management to not put my name in the T-20 and three-day squad. However, I did want to play in the 50-over match. Sadly, due to health reasons, I could not play in that one.
So you’re disappointed no to play?
I wouldn’t say disappointed. It’s just part of a cricketer’s life, to be honest. You’ll obviously miss some games in your career. As I missed out, someone else has got a chance to play for Nepal so I wouldn’t stay I am disappointed.
After this, you’re going to Dubai to play the T-10 league. Is it a coincidence that you were selected to take part in the league after you resigned as captain?
Well, you have to call it a coincidence. I think I received an offer to play the T-10 league five days after I resigned as captain. When the approach was first made, I was quite unsure. I consulted with family, friends, and coaches who told me that it’s a great opportunity and that I should go play.
I had decided to take a break from cricket as a whole, but coaches told me that this was too big an opportunity to miss out on. It’s funny that I left one thing and got something back in return. But as I said, this is just a coincidence.
I’m looking forward to it as well. I want to play and prove to the team that I can do well in the competition. I will be representing Nepal in the league and if I do will it can open doors for other cricketers as well.
Personally, what is your view on T-10 league?
Well, this is new to me. As a player, you want to play in these global franchise leagues. I’ve got an opportunity and I feel lucky to have got it. It’s a different format and I’m excited. I hope I can justify my team buying me. But that said, I think I’ll play the way that I always play – giving 100 per cent. It’s a good opportunity and I hope more Nepali cricketers will get this opportunity.
Is this the beginning of Paras Khadka’s international franchise career?
As it’s the first time I’ll be playing international franchise cricket, you can call it the beginning.
Are you hopeful that this will open the door to popular T-20 leagues like IPL, BBL CPL?
That will depend on my performance. I know Nepali cricket fans want players like me to play in these league but it depends on my performances. If you do well, international cricket will recognise you. Which is why my aim is to play good cricket.
Some have been saying that these franchise leagues were not your priority when you were captain. Is that true?
I feel playing international T-20 leagues like IPL, CPL, and BBL is every cricketer’s dream. Me being captain does not affect that dream I think. But I will say that as a captain you have to think about a lot of things. I’ve tried my best to do what is good for Nepali cricket. Some decisions that I’ve made have been correct and similarly, I have also made some bad decisions.
What feel is right now I can just concentrate on playing cricket and playing well. I have nothing else to worry about and I guess that is going to be fun. Cricket is something that will stay with me for life. I will not be able to go away from it. The best thing for me is the ball hitting the middle of my bat. I want to play cricket. I have no other agenda right now. But I do feel a bit relieved as I am no longer the captain.
Had you wished to be part of the IPL or other leagues for that matter?
I’d say yes. But if you ask this to any cricketer they will say yes. I wouldn’t just say IPL. No cricketer would say no if you asked him to play in a franchise league. What I feel sad about is we have only been able to play one world cup. We have failed to qualify for the ODI World Cup and have missed out on 2/3 T-20 World Cups. Had we played in these tournaments, we would have had more exposure. I guess it would have opened the door for more competitions. That said, I do feel we can play in these tournaments in the future. I think we are more than capable. But for that, all of us need to come together.
Do you think your performances in Singapore was the reason for your selection in the T-10 league?
Maybe. Because in cricket they say one catch can change a match and one innings can change a career. Maybe that 100 in Singapore is that innings for me.
Are you talking to Pakistan Super League and other leagues as well?
I’ve sent my name for the PSL draft. But I don’t know if I’ll be selected. Let’s see what happens. People were asking me if I will play in the Emerging Nations or the T-10. I do feel the country should always come first, but I had already committed to play the T-10 league. I asked our coach Umesh Patwal if it was fine with me playing in the T-10 league and he told me to go. He told me that young players will be given a change instead of me which is why I decided to go to Dubai. But in the future, if the choice is between country and franchise team, I’ll always choose the country.
As you said, one inning can change a player’s career. Can we expect such an inning during the T-10 league?
I cannot guarantee anything like that. But that said, I will try. In this sport, as you play along you get to create records. For me what’s important is that the team wins.