“I am not leaving cricket, I will still play for Nepal”
Paras Khadka has stepped down as the captain of Nepal’s national cricket team, making the abrupt announcement via a Twitter post on 15 October, shocking many. It came a day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) restored Nepal’s membership by provisionally lifting a ban on the Nepal Cricket Council (CAN).
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Khadka debuted in the senior team in 2004 and was appointed captain in 2009, when he was just 22. From winning the Division 5 title in 2010 to gaining ODI status in 2018, Khadka has been a constant guide to the team throughout ICC suspension. Excerpts from his press conference:
What is the reason behind your sudden resignation?It was not sudden. I was waiting for the ban to lift.
Who will be the new captain?That is not my decision to make — it is up to CAN officials and the coach. My captainship was not the reason Nepali cricket got where it is today. The next captain should be chosen in the interest of Nepali cricket.
How do you critique your skippership?I am quite satisfied. I received support from the team and coaches.
Why did you decide to resign now?I felt it was the right time to have new leadership. Now we have to work towards making Nepal a test nation.
What are your plans now?As a captain I was also a selector and a mentor, so I would like to take a break from that. But I’m not leaving cricket. I still wish to play for Nepal.
So you are not resigning over a disagreement with the new CAN leadership?No, I have not even spoken with them for 3-4 years. CAN has to prioritise cricket and players.We should move forward with a new leader, new structure and new strategy. I will do what I can.
Was it easy to resign?It was not difficult. Whoever the new captain is, he will have my full support.
Will Paras miss cricket or will cricket miss Paras?I won’t be missing cricket. I will be involved one way or another. But I don’t know if cricket will miss me. Sachin Tendulkar was the rage yesterday, today it is Virat Kohli. We got here with hard work but that is not sufficient anymore. The cricket board has funds, but if the players aren’t safe or capable, it won’t mean a thing.
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Lastly, who should be the captain of the Nepali cricket team?Dipendra was vice captain in the last tour, but Gyanendra Malla is more senior. The decision depends on CAN.