Nepal Cricket Team
By Sidharth Gulati
Bhim Sharki’s stunning catch in the Dhangadi Premier League (DPL) is still talked about after five days. In an exclusive chat with Cricnwin, the 17-year-old opened up about his beginnings, batting, Nepal cricket and much more. (Video of his catch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR4GTD1nixY)
--> How did you start playing cricket?
I used to play a lot of tennis-ball cricket. Luckily, I got a chance to train with Chandra Sawad (former Nepal player) and many others in the Kanchanpur Cricket Academy. With time, I even participated in some national tournaments.
Because of only one practice pitch available in the academy, senior players were given preference for batting practice and mostly I was asked to field. That’s one of the reasons why I’m much more confident about by fielding. It’s fun as fielding gives you a chance to be in action throughout the game.
--> Did you follow any cricketer when you started playing?
I’ve always looked up to Paras Khadka (Nepal captain). He has a great match temperament. It was great to share the dressing room with him (during the ODI and T20 series against UAE last month). His hunger for winning has kept all of us going.
--> How did you get the nickname ‘Jonty’?
It was Sawad sir who gave me the nickname ‘Jonty’ because of my fielding. Earlier, I didn’t know who he (Jonty Rhodes) was. Sometime back I got to know about him and saw a lot of his videos and that left me awestruck.
I got a chance to meet him earlier this year. He’s the goodwill ambassador of the league (Dhangadi Premier League) which I’m a part of. He even retweeted the video of the catch that I took.
--> What are your strengths as a batsman?
I actually like to play my shots. I try to make runs, keep the scoreboard moving. That keeps my confidence up. Playing attacking shots is my strength.
--> What is your favourite shot?
--> How do you see Nepal's future as a cricket nation?
Five years back, we played the 2014 World T20 here in Bangladesh. Now we have a chance to play the 2020 World T20 in Australia, if we get past the qualifiers.
There’s no shortage of talent here. We just need more opportunities. Case in point Sandeep Lamichhane. He got a chance and gave a proof of his ability. He’s playing for quite a few T20 franchises now.
--> If there is no cricket board in Nepal, then young players must not be coming, right? They don't have the resources to nurture younger players...
Despite the suspension on the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) (in view of government interference in the board), the game’s governing body (the ICC) hasn’t stopped us from playing at the international level. There aren’t any domestic tournaments that are taking place (because of the ban on CAN) but we have got some different leagues (Dhangadi Premier League, Everest Premier League and Pokhara Premier League) in the corporate sector -- all franchise based -- that are helping us grow our cricket. Hopefully, everything will be sorted. If we get good domestic structures, we will be able to compete.
--> Do you see yourself playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in future?
People here (in Nepal) are crazy for IPL, probably because of Lamichhane, who plays for Delhi (Capitals). I would love to take part in the tournament but I know I have to work really hard for it. More importantly, I want to help Nepal cricket achieve great heights.
--> How confident are you that the other full-members will play against Nepal in ODIs more frequently?
The way we won against UAE (2-1 in ODIs and T20s) and drew 1-1 against Netherlands (last year), I’m confident we will play the likes of India, Australia soon. It’s about developing the winning habit in whatever chances we get.
(This interview was originally taken in Nepali)
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