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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Nepal captain Paras Khadka hopes ODI status can help transform cricket in country

Nepal clinched feat on Thursday after beating Papua New Guinea at World Cup Qualifier in Harare, with Netherlands simultaneously beating Hong Kong

Nepal on Thursday celebrated a big win over Papua New Guinea, which ensured they got ODI status. ICC
Nepal on Thursday celebrated a big win over Papua New Guinea, which ensured they got ODI status. ICC

Paras Khadka hopes securing one-day international status can help transform cricket in Nepal.

The country clinched the feat on Thursday, when they thrashed Papua New Guinea at the World Cup Qualifier in Harare, and Netherlands simultaneously beat Hong Kong.

The results mean Nepal will play the Dutch for seventh-place in the 10-team tournament on Saturday, safe in the knowledge they have already won the third ODI place on offer.

Hong Kong and PNG will be relegated to World Cricket League Division 2, and each will lose the ODI privileges they won four years ago in New Zealand.

It is a remarkable achievement for the Nepal, given their cricket administration has been banned by the ICC for the past two years. The global governing body deemed Cricket Association of Nepal unfit for purpose in 2016.

The ICC still deems Nepal a “priority country”, according to its global head of development Will Glenwright, because of a vast following for the game there.

Listen to Will Glennwright talk about Nepal cricket

The team were given an exemption to play on in international cricket, as ICC felt the players did not deserve to suffer for the failings of the country’s administrators.

It has meant a few senior players, the coach and team manager have overseen the running of the game there, in addition to their match-day responsibilities.

“We need to have a proper management, it is as simple as that,” Khadka said.

“If we can get a proper system and management back at home, cricket is going to prosper. No matter what happens with Nepal cricket, we need a proper management to lead the way forward.”

The team’s run to ODI status has been extraordinary, too. They finished runners up in the WCL Division 2 in Namibia last month, where they lost to UAE in the final, to clinch a place at the Qualifier in Zimbabwe. Those matches were characterised by thrilling finishes.

Nepal captain Paras Khadka has rallied his team and inspired them to new heights. ICC
Nepal captain Paras Khadka has rallied his team and inspired them to new heights. ICC

At least their crowning moment passed slightly more easily. Dipendra Airee and IPL-bound Sandeep Lamichhane took four wickets each as PNG were bowled out for 114. Airee then struck a half-century as they chased victory with just four wickets lost.

“As players we are pushing ourselves, and whatever happens outside we have always known that if we do well on the field, we can hopefully reach somewhere like that,” Khadka said.

“Over the years we have played good cricket. Once we missed out on the Super Six and qualification was out of our hands, we knew we had to focus on ODI status.”

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