‘Let’s hope for the best’
Posted by Prabin the सोभित on शनिवार, फ्रेवुअरी 23, 2008
|Nepal’s players leave the field after completing a tight three-wicket win|
This post is originally written by George Binoy, Cricinfo staff
Nepal finished third in Group C after a thrilling three-run victory against Namibia at the University Sains Malaysia. It was a finish meant for packed stands yet there were only a few Nepal supporters cheering on every dot ball towards the end of the Namibian run-chase. Overs were not an issue but the pressure had been mounting because the Namibian batsmen were simply not able to get Nepal’s spinners away. They were chasing a target of 165 and the equation had boiled down to six runs to win with two wickets in hand.
Morne Engelbrecht, the No. 9 batsman, swept the spinner in the air towards midwicket but the ball fell safe. The batsmen ran one but wanted another, the second run was fraught with risk. The throw at the bowler’s end was good and No. 10 batsman Elandre Oosthuizen was run out. The last pair added two more but with three runs to get, Engelbrecht was bowled by Gyanendra Malla. Nepal’s players converged on each other and celebrated in a heap before getting up to shake hands with the Namibians. As the jubilant Nepal players walked off, it was hard not to feel for their young opposition.
And right through it all, Paras Khadka, the Nepal captain, was egging his team-mates on. After each dot ball you could hear him clapping hard and shouting encouragements in Nepalese. He’s been in such situations before, most memorably during the 2006 Under-19 World Cup Plate Championship semi-finals against South Africa, when Paras bowled the last over with ten runs to defend.
Paras is 20 years old [Associates countries can field players a year older than Full Members] and a veteran by U-19 standards; this is his third World Cup appearance. “I qualified for this World Cup by one-and-a-half or two months [within the age limit],” he says. “I just made the cut off date.”
What has been the most memorable moment of his career so far? “Winning the Plate Championship [in 2006],” he says without a moment’s hesitation.
“The reception was huge [when they returned to Nepal]. The boys were really felicitated well. There were lots of people and we were made to go around the city in a vehicle. The people were really proud of us. The sport has given me a lot of recognition and fame.”
Roy Dias, the Nepal coach, said Paras was an extremely bright student and feared he would leave Nepal to pursue higher studies. Paras was understandably hesitant while answering the question. “I would like to play cricket but you have to study because we’re not so professional in our country. We have to think of our careers. I don’t know, let’s hope for