At a time when Nepali contingent in South Korea is struggling for medal, the Nepali cricket team is on Wednesday leaving for Incheon with lot expected from it.
While the women’s team crashed out from the quarter-finals following their crushing 84-run defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, men’s team skipper Paras Khadka and Coach Pubudu Dassanayake believes there is a real opportunity for Nepal to bring home a medal.
“We are very close,” said Dassanayake whose team first has to go through a relatively easy draw against Kuwait and Maldives in Group ‘B’.
A group win will see Nepal face an inexperienced Afghanistan side in the quarter-finals and if they get through from there they could possibly face off Hong Kong in the semis. As Nepal hold the possibility of battling against familiar opponents for a place in the final, it gives them a huge chance to bring smiles in the entire Nepali contingent.
“I don’t want to take any opponents lightly but as a side that has played World Cup, Kuwait and Maldives should be a good practice for us. Our level has gone quite higher than our group opponents. There is a great opportunity for us to claim a medal. But for that we have to play quality cricket,” said Dassanayake adding apart from the draw, the conditions is also favorable to his side.
“Given the low and turning wickets in Korea, the condition in South Korea seems to be in our favour. We will not be worried much about our opponents and the conditions there,” added the coach.
Paras said the tough competition in the team will allow Nepali cricketers to display the best. “We are in a situation where no one will get an excuse and everyone is quite aware of that. Every single individual will try to prove himself and this will perform us better,” said Paras who is itching to return with a medal.
“Unfortunately, Nepal has not been able to bring medal from the Asian Games. We will try to make a podium finish.” Paras Khadka believes that everyone is very keen to perform.
“Post-World Cup there is a huge belief in every one of us. Although we have not been provided with exposure like in the past, that will barely create a problem. Everyone in the team is quite experienced and keen to perform. This is a big opportunity for us to prove ourselves in front of the World and Asia once again.”