“We want to compete against the Full Members, it means everything to us,” says Nepal’s captain
Nepal features in Group B alongside strong competition in the form of Afghanistan, The Netherlands, Scotland, Kenya, Bermuda, Denmark and Papua New Guinea.
The 26-year-old Khadka explains how the side have been preparing for the event: “The boys have been working really hard for the last two months. We’ve been focusing on our fitness and skill levels, with everyone pretty geared up and looking forward to the event.
“We’ve also toured India, with a trip to Delhi for some practice games and that has helped the team gain some momentum ahead of the tournament.”
The side is a mixture of youth and experience, which is something Khadka says is a positive for the team: “Some of the newer players have come through our U19 set-up as well as the U23 set-up, we’ve a balanced set-up, especially when it comes to our fast bowlers and spin bowlers. We have a couple of all-rounders followed by a strong batting line-up, we’ve got it all there.”
One player who had a major impact for Nepal in the previous ICC WT20Q was Shakti Gauchan, and the spin bowler was given the opportunity to train with the IPL side, Rajathan Royals, following the previous WT20Q, which was held in the UAE in 2012. “Shakti has been doing really well for us again and hopefully he’ll deliver for us again like he did in the last tournament,” opined Khadka.
There was no mincing his words when the charismatic all-rounder shared his thoughts of what it would mean for Nepal to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 2014 in Bangladesh and play alongside the 10 Full Members: “It means everything to us, we want to be there as we have worked very hard to be here. We are hungry to get to the top and compete against the Full Members in the pinnacle of Twenty20 cricket.”
Group B will not provide an easy pathway to the event in 2014, with ICC WT20Q 2012 runner-up Afghanistan in the group. Khadka, who has represented in Nepal in three ICC U19 Cricket World Cups, said: “All the teams must have prepared really well so we cannot take any team lightly.
“Everyone wants to make it to the World Twenty20 so it will be really competitive, but we’re ready for the challenge and we are looking forward to playing positively and concentrating on our strong points.
“We have really developed a side when it comes to this format, the boys have worked really hard and we want to play aggressively and go out there and have fun on the cricket field, produce decisive results and make it all the way to the top to ultimately qualify for Bangladesh.”
Nepal begins its campaign against Denmark on November 15 at the ICC Academy Ground No. 2 in Dubai.
Nepal - Paras Khadka (captain), Pradeep Airee, Binod Bhandari, Amrit Bhattarai, Mahesh Chhetri, Shakti Gauchan, Subash Khakurel, Avinash Karn, Gyanendra Malla, Anil Mandal, Jitendra Mukhiya, Sagar Pun, Basant Regmi, Sharad Vesawkar, Rahul Vishwakarma.