Nepal came back from a game down to win their first One Day International (ODI) series 2-1 against the United Arab Emirates earlier this year. It was youngster Rohit Kumar Paudel who led the comeback trail for Nepal scoring a world record half century in the second one-dayer to beat the likes of legends Sachin Tendulkar of India and Shahid Afridi of Pakistan.
Q. You were there in Nepal’s journey to ODI status from ICC World Cricket League Division II. How was the experience of being part of that historical journey?
A. I consider myself very fortunate to be the part of this historical journey. The environment in the dressing room was quite inspirational me because it would always bring the best out of any individual. The best thing of Nepal cricket is the atmosphere that we create in the dressing room. Irrespective of the results, we always back each other.
I had dream debut in Namibia followed by another good outing in Zimbabwe. I was inspired to play cricket after Nepal participated in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20. Hopefully the ODI status will inspire a bunch of kids to choose this beautiful game of cricket.
Q. After working so hard, how did it feel to miss out on Nepal’s first-ever One Day International match against the Netherlands?
A. It doesn’t feel good when you have to miss even a single match for your country. But, I wasn’t feeling bad on that occasion because I had made way for a player like Shakti Gauchan who had carried the load of the nation for more than 16 years.
Q. How did it feel to break the record of all-time great Sachin Tendulkar?
A. That was something, I had never imagined. I hadn’t thought about it even after scoring half-century. I will remember this for rest of my life and beyond.
Q. How has been the experience of leading the Nepal Under-19 side?
A. It has been a great experience for me to serve the nation as a captain of the youth team. Being a captain, you must involve in the game for whole 100 overs and I really loved doing it. It added extra responsibility to you and I guess it will help me to be more responsible.
Q. Have you seen yourself as a captain of senior side in future?
A. I haven’t thought about it so far. The focus is on scoring runs and helping your team win. I will never sit back, if I can stand for it one day but as of now, I haven’t thought about it.
Q. Your name in the draft-list (in franchise Twenty20 competitions) is the sign that you’re in the eyes of experts around the world. Which franchise league would you like to be part of and from which team?
A. I want to be part of the Indian Premier League. It is undoubtedly the best league in the world and you can quickly rise in the world cricket, if you perform there. I would like to play under Rohit Sharma from Mumbai Indians.
Q. What is your family’s feedback about your current status in Nepal cricket?
A. They are encouraging me to raise the bar. They are pretty happy and always pushed me to do well. I am all here because of the support I get in my family. They were very supportive to my passion since very early days. They had given me the space to chase my dream and now it’s my turn to make them proud.
Q. How do you prepare yourself before any match?
A. I try to keep myself calm. I avoid the negative things to get inside my brain. I always re-call good innings I played before going in to bat. I try to play according to the merit of the ball and it has been successful so far.
Q. What inspired you to play cricket?
A. I was inspired to play cricket after Nepal participated in their first ever World Cup. That event eventually helped me to set a goal of representing Nepal at the international stage.
Q. Who has been your role model since childhood, someone you look up to?
A. Paras Khadka has been my role model since my childhood up to now. I also look up to Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma.
Q. Which is your favourite and toughest shot to play?
A. I love to play inside-out over the cover. Talking about toughest shot, I find bit difficult to play sweep shot.
Q. Which is your favourite innings so far?
A. I’ll always remember the 48 runs (unbeaten 86-ball 48) that I made against Hong Kong in the World Cup Qualifier 2018. It is my best innings so far and will be for the long time, considering the importance of that innings.
Q. What is your aim as a cricketer?
A. Like every Nepalese cricketer, my dream is also to play Test cricket from Nepal. It is the common goal that everyone made after representing Nepal.
Q. Where can we see Rohit Kumar Paudel after 10 years?
A. The ultimate target is there within you, but I would like to take it match by match. I would like to improve myself every day and try to reach the pinnacle of my dream.