Paras Khadka, 20, is Nepal’s captain in the forthcoming U/19 World Cup. The World Cup souvenir program says Paras is “arguably good enough to be in the line-up of any of the Test-playing countries.” A member of the side which has beaten South Africa and New Zealand in previous U/19 World Cups, he is set to become an indispensable part of the Nepal senior set-up. He leads from the front with bat and ball and was a most gracious interviewee over coffee in Kathmandu.

"The luck is with those who are successful."

How old were you when you first picked up a cricket bat?

I vaguely remember picking up interest when I was about six or seven. Even at school, people used to play on Saturdays and since I stayed so close to school, I would come back after classes and take my gear and head back to school to play. And when I was very young, I remember carving out these small bats from wood so I could play.

Was your family a sporting one?

Yes, very much. My dad and my entire family were very supportive of my cricket and never pushed me to do things I didn’t want to.

How do you balance school and cricket?

At times it tends to get to you especially when there’s a tournament and exams are held simultaneously but luckily for me there haven’t been too many of those instances. It is difficult but you’ve got to choose certain subjects that don’t take too much of your time.

I actually started playing cricket early and got through at the inter-school level. There was a selection process where players are picked from the inter-school for the regional team to play for any of the five regions. After this, the top twenty players are taken to a training camp and in this camp, the national side is selected.

Role model: Binod Das

Was cricket popular when you first started playing?

Yes it was. Cricket started picking up pace after the 2002 Under-19 World Cup where Nepal beat teams like New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh. After that at there was a huge hype and I became a big fan of Binod Das the U-19 captain. I hoped and wished that one day I’d be able to play at the Tribhuvan University stadium and by God’s grace I made it a year later and since then I haven’t looked back.

You play both cricket and basketball. Which do you like most?

Cricket had given me so much but basketball is played extensively during the cricketing off-season. All of my friends are into the game and basketball also helps me maintain my fitness levels when I’m not playing cricket.

In terms of fitness, which sport requires more, cricket or basketball?

I feel it works both ways since both the games are technically very different from one another. But basketball and cricket require loads of stamina and playing both games is a great way to build it.

Are there any special fitness regimes you undergo?

Not really. There is minimal gym work. I don’t, we don’t, really have access to any gyms.

Have you always been an all-round sportsman?

Yes I have. I actually tried for the national football trials. I tried when I was in the Grade 8 but I didn’t like the whole system. I was very much into sports and as I said earlier, I spent hours after school playing games.

Next Page | “The secret to beating a Test-playing nation.”