We are back where we belong to. After four years of isolation, we have once again managed to reach the top of the U-19 world cricket structure. Having just read the news about our team´s qualification to the finals of the ACC U-19 Elite Cup in Thailand, I´m at home with my heart jumping with joy and excitement.
ACC U-19 Elite Cup has been an amazing ride for us. I want to congratulate the U-19 team and the management for making things happen. Critics who thought Nepal´s dominance in this age-group was no more relevant after we lost in semifinals two years ago have been made to eat crow.
Every team has its own share of good players but there´s a difference in possessing talent and exposing that talent at the highest level. Our boys have turned heads all over again. The practice matches against Bangladesh U-19 team might have shown a different outlook but then they are a Test playing nation. Slowly but steadily this team has proven its quality. Look at the results!
My team, APF Club, had played against these young guns before their departure. Against all odds, they beat us in two practice matches. This shows their level of determination and temperament. Many are playing at this level for the first time but there have been no signs of nervousness or failure. Rising to the occasion is what separates winners from the rest of the pack. Prithu (Baskota) has been leading from the front and the likes of Rahul Biswokarma, Naresh Budayer, Bhuwan Karki, Sagar Pun,Faizal Khan and others have all performed when it mattered most. Its now just one more game before we lift the trophy once again.
It´s unfortunate that Pintu (Prithu) has tore his ligament and won´t be available for the final but I´m pretty sure 13 other boys and the team management know by now what it takes to beat Afghanistan who denied us the opportunity to go through the ICC U-19 World Cup qualifiers two years back.
I wish our team all the very best and they will be greeted at the airport with garlands and blessings from all of us irrespective of the final result. They have already made all Nepalis proud. Cricket has proven its magic once again and having been a part of previous World Cup teams myself, these boys should look forward to locking horns with the best of the world and put up a final showpiece for all of us to remember and cherish. Good luck and god bless.
– PARAS KHADKA / (Source: Republica)
(Paras Khadka is current national captain. He captained Nepal´s U-19 team to the title-victory in 2006 ACC U-19 Elite Cup.)