New Delhi – As Nepal continues to recover from the devastating earthquake, its cricket team too is picking up the pieces in Dharamsala, “a home away from home” as put by captain Paras Khadka.
Khadka says his country has gone through a lot since the massive quake hit the Himalayan nation in April, but it is important for him and the team to shift the focus back on cricket as they prepare for the World T20 qualifier to be held in Ireland and Scotland next month.
“It is tough to get over the tragedy that we have suffered, but now it is important for us to just think about bat and ball. Like everyone else back home, it is very important for us to get back to normal life. Two weeks here in Dharamsala will help us a long way in doing that,” Khadka told PTI today from Dharamsala.
The 22-member Nepal contingent arrived in the hill station yesterday and will train at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association stadium for 15 days. It is the first time the cricketers from the neighbouring country are having a camp in India, arranged after the BCCI extended a helping hand to the troubled team.
“I would really like to thank the BCCI and Anurag Thakur for arranging this and helping us out. It is summer now but the weather is much better than most other cities in India, pretty much what we get back home in Kathmandu. The facilities too are world class, so really looking forward to making a good use of our time here,” said Khadka.
The 27-year-old has proved to an able leader on the field as the team aims to qualify for its second World T20 under his leadership. Off the field too, his leadership skills have often come to the fore, like it did when he heard about major tremors rocking Nepal.
“I had gone to Australia two days before the earthquake.
My plan was to interact with the local cricketers but after the earthquake, we converted all the events into charity events where we auctioned signed cricket bat and balls. The overseas Nepalese community was very generous. Generally, people have been supportive all around the world,” said Khadka, who is hoping the USD 30,000 he raised in Australia, will be used to help the needy.
The conversation moves back to the game again with Khadka stressing on the important of doing well in the World T20 qualifier.
“We finished third last time and qualified. This time are aiming to do better. Expectations are always high. We live in a country where everyone follows the game regularly, they want to know what is happening with the team and the players. We have been performing well of late, we just need to keep it going,” he said.
Nepal is still new to international cricket and it needs constant help from the likes of India to grow, feels Khadka.
“We have just entered international cricket. We need time. Most important thing about this game is that the more you play against the better teams, the more you improve, that is how you grow. If we get the right exposure and get proper infrastructure, there is enough talent to take the team forward.
“And we hope the BCCI helps us regularly, like it did with smaller teams such as Bangladesh. If they are playing Test cricket, we too can in due time,” he added.
By Bharat Sharma New Delhi, Jun 6 (PTI)