Nepal’s national cricket team skipper Paras Khadka was recently in Pokhara to observe ongoing preparations for Pokhara Premier League, scheduled for October-November this year. He was in rush as the Nepali team are currently training for the Asia Cup Qualifier.
Having just returned from the two-match one day international series against the Netherlands, Khadka was hopeful about results of the Qualifier that will begin on August 29 in Malaysia. He said his team wanted perform the best in the tournament so that it would be qualified to play against test nations like India and Pakistan.
As Khadka was returning to Kathmandu after wrapping up his Pokhara stay, Onlinekhabar‘s Amrti Subedi has talked to the captain of Nepal national team about Nepali cricket’s future.
How are you preparing for the Asia Cup Qualifier beginning in Malaysia after two weeks?
This is a golden opportunity for us. If we win the Qualifier, we will get opportunities to play against countries like India and Pakistan. It is also a good platform for our country. Therefore, we do not want to miss it. What players can do for that is regular practice. We will do out best to excel our performance.
You must win the Qualifier to play the Asia Cup. How do you evaluate your opponents like the UAE?
They are the teams that we defeated in Division Two or Division Three. Oman are a good team, but they lost to us in Division Two. We have been playing against the UAE regularly.
Overall, all teams are good. They will also come with a vision and energy like ours. They also have dreams to play the Asia Cup. It will not be an easy game for us. But, we will play the best possible.
Despite challenges galore in the management aspect, Nepal got the ODI status. They also won one of the two matches against the Netherlands in the debut series. Having returned from Amsterdam, how do you find people’s perception of Nepali cricket?
Nepali cricket reached this point without any (substantial) investment. If we invest in the sport, can you imagine where we arrive at? Yes, investments should be made for players and coaches, and physical infrastructures. A proper environment should be created to motivate people of the new generation to play cricket.
We have been trying hard to win more games, to elevate ourselves smoothly. We remained satisfied with the facilities provided to us because we loved cricket. We continued dreaming. Our dreams have made us stand up at this point today. If we had thought he had nothing, we would have reached nowhere.
Yes, cricket was not a priority (for the government) then. When we played the T-20 World Cup in 2014, people began looking at cricket differently. I think we should be excited about this changed perception.
Now, the context has turned more positive. We have got the one day status. I am more excited than ever.
How do you see upcoming days of Nepali cricket?
I am a player and I feel encouraged and happy about what I have. We have more challenges and responsibilities. Players who played before me also had a dream to get the ODI status. But, we achieved it only after rigorous efforts and hard work. It has opened a new path for Nepali cricket. But, many things depend on how we manage and move ahead with it.
Let me reflect on our past. We have passed through many ups and downs. Overall, the level of players’ performance continued going up, but the management could not be good. This is a sad aspect of our cricket. If there was proper management, we would have several stadiums today and each stadium would be hosting several tournaments. We would have other infrastructures too.
But today, we only have one ground at the Tribhuvan University. We cannot play at the Pulchock ground anymore.
I think we should think about what we can do tomorrow instead of what we did yesterday. We have new opportunities. There is an independent committee to resolve issues regarding the Cricket Association. We are hopeful that there will be a well-managed cricket board soon.