Asia Cup 2023, Interview, Nepal Men

Aasif Sheikh: Virat Kohli jokingly asked for a medal for dropping my catch 

Aasif Sheikh is the only Nepali batter so far with a couple of fifties against Test playing nation. He scored the first one against Zimbabwe in World Cup Qualifier 2023.

The wicket-keeper batter also became the first Nepali batter to score a half-century in the Asia Cup. He achieved the feat by scoring 58 runs against India at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on September 4. 

He was presented with a medal for his special knock. Virat Kohli was the one to present him a Medal. Kohli congratulated him and tapped him on the shoulder for a composed knock.

Moreover, He was seen exchanging humorous remarks and sharing a hearty laugh together. After arriving in Nepal, Asif was asked about that specific moment during a press conference. Sheikh shared, “When Virat awarded me a medal, I felt proud to represent Nepal Cricket. I truly felt honoured, and to cap it off, he added humour by jokingly saying, ‘Give me a medal too; after all, I dropped your catch!  That was fun. “

Here are a few other Questions and Answers with Aasif:

Q. You also scored the 10th half-century. How does it feel to score big against a big team like India? 

A. “It feels good to score big against a big team, and it boosts your confidence as well. However I had the opportunity to convert it into something more significant but fell short. Still, I felt good.”

Q. We are used to playing with Associate Nations, but how was the experience of playing against heavyweights like India and Pakistan? 

A. “Playing alongside players we used to watch and admire on television was a truly enriching experience. We also paid close attention to their pre-match preparations and their body language, We also observed their reactions after each ball and how they approached various deliveries.”

Q. Did you have any idols with whom you felt a sense of awe while playing alongside?

A. “KL Rahul – He was not in the squad, but Virat Kohli, whom we had watched on television growing up. He didn’t bat, but it was still a great experience to share the field with him.”

Q. Can you share something about the moment with Indian players in the dressing room? 

A. “To be honest, we didn’t anticipate anything like that after the match. We were expecting to exchange handshakes and part ways, but Monty (Desai) Sir made an effort and requested them. They graciously agreed, and we had the chance to visit their dressing room. It was an eye-opening experience to witness how they manage themselves, take care of their kit bags, and notice other finer details as well.”

Q. Our batting failed against Pakistan. What should we do to face a fiery-pace attack like Pakistan? 

A. “I individually felt that the surface (Turf) matters. To play 140-145 km/h ball, the surface should be even. If the surface is favourable, we can give it a go. We have hired a sidearm specialist – Akash Gupta, who can throw the ball at 145-150 km/h speed. We should train more at a high pace, I think.”

Q. This time, Nepal played better against the short ball. Anything you would like to say? 

A. “We hadn’t specifically strategized for facing short balls. We were aware of our capability to handle them, but the bouncy conditions in Zimbabwe didn’t work in our favor, and we faced some difficulties. However, I believe we have the skills to play short balls effectively. Kushal is particularly adept at handling them, and I’m confident in my ability to do the same.”

Q. Was there any sledging ?

A. “No! nothing like that.”