|Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier, UAE 2012|
Khadka hoping Nepal make history
Nepal captain Paras Khadka admits that to qualify for September's ICC World Twenty20 2012 in Sri Lanka would be the biggest achievement in Nepalese sporting history. The 24-year-old will be leading his side in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier UAE 2012 this month from 13 to 24 March.
"To qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 would be the biggest achievement in the history of Nepalese sports. We have the opportunity to create and make history and we will try and give every ounce of what we have in us to achieve our goal of qualification," said Khadka.
A seasoned campaigner when it comes to ICC events, the 24-year-old has played in three ICC U19 Cricket World Cups as well as numerous Pepsi ICC World Cricket Leagues and regional events, the team have been preparing in India ahead of its first game on 13 March against fellow Asia regional qualifiers, Hong Kong.
"We went on a tour to Mumbai recently where we played around nine matches, it was a decent outing as we got some good exposure in good cricking conditions which were also humid. We have had two domestic tournaments in the space of two weeks in Nepal where all of the 14 players selected for the national side have been involved with their respective domestic teams.
"We are also travelling to Delhi to play three Twenty20 fixtures before we head to Dubai for the Qualifier, other than that our preparation has been to work hard on our fielding and fitness for this event and we want to give everything we've got for this tournament," said the youthful leader.
Khadka admitted it was about playing the tournament match by match and not looking too far ahead: "We will take it match by match and once we've qualified into the second phase of the event it becomes anyone's game from there. We are coming to play to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012 and nothing else," said the adamant all-rounder.
The side features some new faces to the bowling attack, including fast bowling duo Chandra Saud and Krishna Karki making their debuts for the senior team after good performances with the ball in the last six months. The attack will be further bolstered by the returning of the experienced Shakti Gauchan, the legspinner earning a recall after a brief hiatus from the side.
Nepal's head coach has also boosted the team's confidence ahead of the tournament says Khadka, Pubudu Dessaynake the former Canada head coach took over the helm last year and the team is feeling the benefits of the Sri Lankan.
"Pubudu has been unbelievable, we are lucky to have him as a coach, he's someone who works as hard on the field as he does off it. He's been instrumental in getting players to perform and understand personal goals and responsibility and I feel that the belief in our cricket has been reinstalled.
"We have to keep developing cricket in Nepal and I believe he is someone that can help us to do that with both his training expertise and his development skills we have the opportunity to go far with him," admitted Khadka.
The side is in Group A alongside former ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2010 winners Afghanistan as well as Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong, Bermuda, Denmark and Papua New Guinea all sides Khadka has been researching.
"We have played a number of the sides before but we have been looking at the opposition team stats and player profiles, we are without a doubt doing our homework on the opposition. However, our main focus will be to understand our own game better and maintain stability within our strengths and work to continuously improve," said the top-order batsman.
Nepal is known for its travelling supporters but Khadka was keen for new followers of the game in the country to learn about the sport.
"We play with passion and commitment and have an amazing team spirit and unity amongst each other, we play our cricket to win and nothing else. We believe nothing is impossible if you back yourself, we have a talented bunch of players so no one should be surprised if some of them make the headlines at the end of the tournament."