As Nepal sped up their preparations for the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers, the inclusion of 20-year old Siddhant Lohani is the biggest talk at the moment in Nepali cricket. Siddhant, a right-hand batsman with ability to play shots all around the park, was nowhere near the mainstream for the last one year.
But he is now a member of the Nepali team which is itching to heal the wounds of the country inflicted by the April 25 Great Quake that has rattled Nepal. Siddhant is among few lucky cricketers of the national team who could be taking a shotcut to success. Do you remeber how Sompal Kami sneaked into the national team?
Sompal was preparing for the ACC U-19 Asia Cup after he landed from India to play cricket in Nepal. But the sheer talent packed his bags for a senior national side that played the 2015 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Nepal. He hit a jackpot. Siddhant played the tournament that Sompal was also supposed to play in the UAE.
In presence of Asian heavyweights India and Pakistan, Siddhant didn't get enough to display himself but the cameo he played against the United Arab Emirates was enough to define his batting persona. Siddhant waited and defined himself during the recent One Day National, playing innings that is very rare in Nepal.
Siddhant, who idolises South African skipper AB de Villiers and plays the shots he plays, talked to cricketingnepal.com from Dharamshala after completing a training session. Here we are sharing with you our brief conversation with Siddhant.
Q. You played just two matches for Nepal and that too in the age group tournament. But now you are in the national team for one of the most important tournaments that country is going to play. How did it all happen?
A. It all comes down to doing hard work. I worked very hard to be in the national side. My performance in the national tournament helped me a lot. I would like to thank the national team coach, captain and every one who kept the faith in me.
Q. An all-important tournament for Nepal (World Twenty20 Qualifiers). How are you going to handle yourself?
A. The Qualifiers, no doubt, is going to be an important tournament for us. We all are working hard to beat at the top in this Qualifiers and play in the World Cup. This is going to be my first tour for the national side. So, I'm just going to enjoy and play my natural game.
Q. How much pressure is it going to be?
A. There will of course be a little bit of pressure as it is going to be my first tour with the senior team. But, I will try to overcome that pressure and play with patience to come up with my best performance.
Q. How is the team supporting you?
A. Our team has good team spirit. Coach and my seniors have been helping me a lot. They always give me good tips on all the department of the game. I will always look to make the best use of those tips.
Q. You have been picked up in the team because of your ability to play unorthodox shots. Are you given a green signal to play those shots at big stages by the team?
A. I am not going to change my game. Will always try to hit the ball in the gaps as hard as I can and score runs for the team. That is the way I go but at crucial stages of the game, I will look for rotating strike. The coach (Pubudu Dassanayake) has also suggested me to play to my strength.
Q. How would you like to make the Qualifiers special from your side?
A. I'm really happy to be in Qualifiers. From my side, I am going to be perform whatever my team and coach ask for. It will be special for the entire team If I kept going good in the Qualifiers.
Q. What do you think about your playing chances in Qualifiers in presence of senior and experienced players?
A. My dream is to be in the national side and play for it. I know that finding a place in the playing XI is difficult for me because there are lots of senior players in the side. But who knows when an opportunity knocks your door. I am waiting for it.