Nepal’s longest-serving and most successful national cricket team captain Paras Khadka resigned from his position on Tuesday. Khadka, who started captaining the national side in 2009, was the longest-serving overall international captain until Monday.
“It was not a decision taken overnight. But it was not a difficult one. I wanted to leave on a high. It was my decision. I feel it is the right time. I am very satisfied with my stint,” he said while addressing the media during the trophy unveiling function of the Women’s Champions League here Tuesday.
The 31-year-old feels he has taken Nepali cricket as far as possible. He will continue to contribute as a player but wishes to take a break from cricket for the time being.
“I would like to take a break. I feel relieved. I had loads of things to do in the last few years. It’s about time I took some time away. Cricket has made my identity. As long as I live, I will continue to help Nepali cricket.”
Khadka disclosed that he was waiting for the reinstatement of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) to take the decision.
“I firmly believe the current setup deserves a new leadership group. Everybody has to start afresh – players and administrators. It is a new challenge for us all. Let’s hope everyone will fulfill their respective responsibilities in future to take Nepali cricket forward.”
The record-breaking captain recollected all the coaches he worked with as captain and credited them for the success of Nepali cricket.
“We were blessed to have coaches like Roy Dias, Pubudu Dassanayake, Umesh Patwal, along with local coach Jagat Tamata. The clarity of vision, energy and similar mentality among players and coaches helped us come this far.”
Khadka made clear he will not lead Nepal again even if CAN comes to him with a proposition. He termed gaining One-Day International (ODI) status as his cricketing high as it gave stability to the game here. Participating in the ICC World T20 was a memorable highlight. And he rued every loss as a low in his captaincy.
“Where Nepali cricket is despite all the odds feels sometimes like a dream. I think the players were honest and they sacrificed selflessly to attain this height. However, CAN will have to take steps to secure a future as well for the cricketers.”
Khadka said Nepali cricket doesn’t end with him. The game is bigger than anybody. There are loads of good young players in Nepal who are more talented than the older crop at the same age. But whether they can become world beaters will depend on the grooming.
“Nepali cricket will not end with my captaincy. It was a collective effort of players and support staff. Electing a new captain is not my decision. It’s up to the governing body. In my honest opinion, Gyanendra Malla should be given the reigns for a year to groom a new young captain who will eventually take Nepali cricket forward. In the end, whoever it might be, Nepali cricket should develop further through everyone’s collective effort.”
Khadka looks forward to leading CAN in the future. But first he wants to work off-field, starting as an administrator for the development of Nepali cricket, before being considered for leading the governing body.
All-rounder Khadka made his debut for Nepal against Malaysia in April 2004. He came through the age-level ranks and never looked back. The right-handed batsman always said he never dreamt of becoming a national cricket player and just took up every responsibility as it came. Equally good in football and basketball in earlier days, he was among the eleven to play in Nepal’s first-ever One Day International (ODI) match, against the Netherlands in August 2018.
A right-arm medium-fast bowler and an occasional off-break bowler, Khadka has established himself as ‘statesman’ in international cricket. He is often referred to as a phenomenon who revolutionized a country’s cricket on the international stage.
Khadka is a right-handed batsman, a right-arm medium-fast bowler, and an occasional off-break bowler. He made his debut for Nepal against Malaysia in April 2004. He was in the eleven that played in Nepal’s first ever One Day International (ODI), against the Netherlands in August 2018.
Khadka became the sixth Nepali cricketer to score an international century when he hit an unbeaten 106 off 77 balls against Kuwait during the 2012 ACC Trophy Elite in October 2012.
Khadka became the first Nepali batsman to score a century in an ODI match, doing so against the United Arab Emirates on January 28, 2019.
Khadka is also Nepal’s first player to score a century in T20I cricket, scoring an unbeaten 106 off 52 deliveries during a nine-wicket win against Singapore on September 29. Khadka also became the first skipper to slam a century in T20I cricket while chasing.
Under Khadka’s captaincy, Nepal won the ICC World Cricket League Division Five 2010 held in Nepal, the ICC World Cricket League Division Four 2012 held in Malaysia, ACC Trophy Elite 2012 held in UAE, ICC World Cricket League Division Three 2013 held in Bermuda, the ICC World Cricket League Division Three 2014 in Malaysia, and finished runner-up in ICC World Cricket League Division Two 2018 in Namibia.
Nepal also participated in the ICC World Twenty20 2014 held in Bangladesh and gained Twenty20 International status.
Similarly, Nepal secured ODI status for four years after finishing as the highest associate nation in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers 2018 held in Zimbabwe.
In 2014, national cricket team members including captain Khadka boycotted the national league, demanding the restructuring of CAN and better facilities and benefits for players. CAN was drawn into controversy over financial mismanagement and eventually got suspended in April 2016 by the International Cricket Council.
In July the same year, Khadka threatened to quit cricket if the then Cricket Association of Nepal did not reappoint head coach Pubudu Dassanayake. The departing head coach was reinstated by National Sports Council and both captain and coach continued a partnership for another one year.
In 2015, Nepal failed in the global qualifiers held in Ireland and Scotland for the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in 2016 in India.
In 2018, Nepal, fresh from its ODI status and a runaway favorites, lost to Oman and the UAE in the ACC Asia Qualifiers held in Malaysia, missing the lone Asia Cup berth. Nepal finished fourth in the six-team points table.
In 2019, Nepal failed to clear the ICC World T20 Asian Region Final Qualifiers in Singapore to miss out on the ICC World T20 Global Qualifiers.