Rohit Paudel reflects on Nepal’s performance and experience in the World Cup

Rohit Paudel
Photo: Shankar Giri

Although Nepal could not win any matches during the ICC T-20 World Cup 2024, the team’s performance was considered relatively good. Nepal’s matches against South Africa and Bangladesh garnered widespread praise.

Focusing on Nepal’s performance and experience in the World Cup, and the team’s plans for the future, Onlinekhabar recently spoke to Nepal’s national cricket team captain, Rohit Paudel.


Before the night of Nepal’s first match in the World Cup, what thoughts were you having?

I had a lot on my mind because, since childhood, I had dreamt of playing in the World Cup. Inspired by the 2014 World Cup, I started playing cricket. However, after losing by just 1 run against UAE in the U19 Asian Qualifier, we could not qualify for the World Cup.

Last year, after winning against UAE at the Mulpani International Cricket Stadium, we qualified for the World Cup, and our dream came true. These thoughts filled my mind the night before Nepal’s first match in the World Cup.

In the first match against Netherlands Nepal conceded many dot balls, what was the reason behind it? Was it because of pressure? 

To be honest, we did not have any kind of pressure. However, we did not have the experience of playing in the World Cup, so we faced a challenging condition.    

There were many Nepali supporters in the stadium. How does it feel to see such a large number of supporters even outside the country?

We are grateful to all of them because supporters of other nations do not come in such a way. We are lucky to receive such kind of support. Some supporters even came to our hotel and asked to have food together. 

Rohit Paudel
Photo: Shankar Giri

South Africa had popular players like Quinton De Kock, Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram. The same team also had pace bowlers like Anrich Nortje and  Kagiso Rabada. How did Nepal prepare themselves to play against such a strong squad?  

I had thought that if Scotland could beat England, the Netherlands could win against South Africa, and UAE could beat New Zealand, Nepal could also beat South Africa. 

We all were confident.  

After stopping South Africa at 115 runs, did you have a hope that Nepal could win the match? 

Before the toss, we had thought that if we could stop South Africa around 150 runs, we could win the match. But we stopped them at 115 runs and we became more hopeful about winning the match. 

We had a good level of confidence. South Africa was also under pressure.   

How was the situation in the dugout when two runs were required in the last two balls? 

In such a situation, the team usually wins the match. I don’t remember losing a match like that. Everyone in the dugout was confident about winning. However, after losing that match, it was difficult for us to accept the defeat.

What is the best thing that happened in this World Cup? 

We all built confidence that we could play at such a high level. Before leaving for the World Cup, we were confident we could reach the Super 8. After returning, we were even more certain that we should have reached the Super 8.

In your thoughts what Nepal gained and lost in the World Cup?

In this World Cup, we gained trust. If we had won against South Africa, it could have given us another level of confidence to win against Bangladesh too. 

I believe failure teaches more than victory. This time we got lessons from the failure. The failure has inspired us to perform even better in the upcoming T20 World Cup qualifiers. We will achieve things in the next World Cup that we lost this time. 

Rohit Paudel
Photo: Shankar Giri

What differences did you find in the Nepali squad before going to the World Cup and after returning from playing in the World Cup?

There is a huge difference. After returning from the world a lot of people have started to know us. The number of cricket supporters has increased. We have made the supporters believe that Nepal can play well even against big teams. 

What should be done to receive test status within 10 years?

I feel that to achieve the test status we need to continuously beat the test-playing nations. We should improve ourselves gradually by becoming the best associate squad. The Cricket Association of Nepal knows well that for that we need proper infrastructure facilities. 

Now to play the T20 World Cup in 2026, we have to reach the finals of the Asian qualifiers. How will Nepal’s team proceed?

Monty Desai and I have already started the preparations. Plans made had to be implemented. It needs everyone’s support.

As a captain and a player of Nepal’s national cricket team, what plans do you have for the future of Nepali cricket?

For now, I aim to make Nepal the number-one associate squad within the next four years. Earlier, we were ranked third in the World Cup League 2. This time, we aim to attain the first rank in League 2. After that, we need to continuously qualify for the World Cup.

In 2014, when Nepal played in the World Cup, you watched it on television. Now, you’re leading Nepal’s national cricket team. Personally, what importance does this achievement hold for you?

I feel super proud. I was a small kid when I watched that World Cup. Watching Nepal’s team in the World Cup inspired me to pursue a cricketing career. I feel lucky and grateful. 

To take Nepal’s cricket to another level, what are the things that should be done immediately?

Players must have financial and social security. This includes not only senior players but also all those playing domestic cricket. Without secure conditions for players, Nepal’s cricket cannot progress. Moreover, good infrastructure is essential to attract test-playing nations to Nepal for matches.

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GC is Onlinekhabar's cricket correspondent.

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