Nepal’s tour of Europe is going to be a good place of redemption for Subash Khakurel, who is back into the national team almost after three years. Subash last played an official match for Nepal in the ICC World Cricket League Championship match against Papua New Guniea in November, 2015 in United Arab Emirates.
He was included in the senior side for national team’s debut at the Lord’s two years ago but out of form Khakurel was sent back home and his comeback trail was frequently affected by niggling injuries. But the wicketkeeper batsman has left the injuries behind him and is now raring to open the innings for Nepal in the Triangular Twenty20 Tournament at the Lord’s on July 29 and most important the country’s first ever ODI series which they are going to play against the Netherlands with the first and second match set for August 1 and 3.
Cricketingnepal.com sat with Subash for an interview ahead of the team’s departure to England. Here are the excerpts:
Q. You are into the team almost after two and half years, how do you see your comeback?
A. There were challenges for me because I was out of competitive cricket for a long time. It was tough to watch my teammates playing. But at the same time I was happy as well because the team was winning. We had wanted ODI status and we got it. Now I am going to be the part of the team which is playing its first ODI and I am quite happy about it.
Q. You were one of the best batsmen in the team and scored century in Division 4. Nepali cricket started believing that the team can now bat. Then you were suddenly out of the team, sat back for a long period and saw Nepal gaining ODI status. What was going in your mind during this period?
A. After the arrival of Pubudu sir (coach Pubudu Dassanayake), our batting mentality changed and we gradually getting into shape as a batting unit. Everyone was making runs but we flopped in few tournaments. We didn’t have best of the tournament in New Zealand (2014 World Cup Qualifiers) but fought back hard in 2014 World Twenty20.
Last six months, we brought quite a few changes in the opening department and maybe that was the reason why we were not getting stability in the top order. Had we backed those players who were not making runs, they could have scored as well. But the positive thing was that we managed to become an ODI nation even if few of the top order batsmen failed. What we can learn is that if two batsmen can bring us ODI status, then a better performance from four out of eight batsmen can bring us Test status as well.
If our batsmen keep learning new things, we can survive in this ODI structure and soon get the Test status.
Q. You are making a comeback at the time when the opening pair has been continuously shuffled. How much pressure are you feeling from the expectations?
A. You have to give the best while you are playing for Nepal and the pressure will always be there. Nepali cricket’s level has gone higher and to play ODI itself is a big challenge. Everyone has done his preparation and to perform under this pressure is a player’s responsibility.
Q. How do you think you can make your comeback memorable?
A. I have always performed well in the historical game of Nepal and I am hoping to continue the same. Anything you do will be history in this historical ODI and I am expecting every record goes my way. I have made my preparations and so has each member of the team. Hopefully everyone does well along with me and Nepali team gets good results.
Q. How much does the injury play back of the mind ?
A. It troubled in first few matches. I have been playing domestic tournament for the last six months and the old injuries have not affected me. I have few niggles but I can easily overcome them.
Subash video interview –