KATHMANDU: National team skipper Paras Khadka is set to become the first player from Nepal to play professional cricket abroad after Ontario Cricket Academy and Club (OCA) decided to hire him for this season’s Canada Premier League.
Paras told The Himalayan Times that he got the invitation from OCA in the first week of April and that he would move to Canada in two weeks in time for four-month season beginning in May.
The 24-year old, who gave an impressive performance during the recently held ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the United Arab Emirates, had been in talks with the club through Nepal’s Sri Lanka-born Canadian coach Pubudu Dassanayake since last week of March. Paras was among the Best-XI of the Qualifiers after his allround display — three half centuries, an aggregate of 254 runs and a seven-wicket haul.
Paras believes this invitation will open gates for other players as well. “I am happy because Nepali cricket will gain more exposure. But, first I need to perform well in Canada,” he said.
Paras was nonchalant about the money he would be getting and claimed that he was unaware of what he would be paid. “I have not talked to anyone about money. I don’t think it has to be an issue. What matters is the experience I will get playing out there,” he added. He, however, said all his expenses, including the airfare, would be borne by the OCA.
Call from Canada came after Nepal’s veteran left arm spinner Shakti Gauchan underwent a trial for Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals. Paras believes there are lots of talented players in Nepal who deserve opportunities like this. “Coach (Dassanayake) has planned to keep us busy even during the monsoon. He is having talks with several clubs abroad and hopefully other players too will get a chance. The call is just a confirmation that we are heading in a professional direction.”
Shakti’s trial with the Royals was also arranged by Dassanayake, who has asked the players from the national team to be ready for playing cricket with foreign clubs.
Paras has been leading the national side since 2009 and skippered the team to the ICC World Cricket League Division-V title in February 2010 on home soil. He also helped Nepal finish second in the ACC Trophy Elite — a position Nepal achieved after eight years — in Kuwait in April 2010.