‘Off-field rows hampering team performance’

Kathmandu, November 20

National cricket team skipper Paras Khadka and coach Pubudu Dassanayake accepted that Nepal were outplayed by Papua New Guinea in the ICC World Cricket League Championship matches in the UAE and the team’s performance have been affected by the off-field controversies off late.

“The out-of-the-field controversies is one of the reasons behind the team’s dismal performance in couple of tours,” said Khadka, upon the team’s arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport from the UAE. Nepal lost both the matches against PNG in Abu Dhabi, making it four losses in as many games. “Nepali cricket has been suffering a lot from off-field rows for the past many years and recently it has been highlighted. We are at the same stage as we were 15 years ago, the same system prevails in Nepali cricket,” he said.

“We did well in the past tournaments putting aside all the controversies and the off-field rows were not noticed then. But today we could not do that and people are talking about off-field controversies,” he said. “Talking about the recent controversy, I did not know whether I am the captain or not until the eve of the team’s departure. Obviously it affects in the team’s performance. But as a player my first responsibility is it to the best on the field and we tried our best. Unfortunately, they (PNG) played well and we failed to take control over the matches,” Khadka added. “I think the captaincy issue was given priority unnecessarily.”

Khadka was optimistic of bouncing back in the remaining matches and do well in future. “Out of the four matches we played, three could have gone either way. We have to be patient and make better plans and work harder for upcoming matches,” he added. “Consistency will be play crucial role in future matches and we have to be prepared for different conditions. We are not out of the race and if the team manages to keep working hard, I am sure the team will give better results,” Khadka added.

Coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who has already submitted his resignation to Cricket Association of Nepal ending his four-year stay, was satisfied with the players’ performance in his last outing with the Nepal national team. “You have to take whatever the end result is. But the important thing is how they played. I am satisfied the way the team played and I am proud that all the team members gave more than 100 per cent,” said Dassanayake.

Asked about the impact of off-field controversies in the team’s performance, Dassanayake said the team needed proper backing to do better in the future matches. “I am not worried about other things, but it is clear that the team needs some backing, from domestic cricket to training facilities and tours. There are so many things we need to do to help this team to do better,” said Dassanayake. “In the last few months, they were lacking in this regard and the players have not given up. To move ahead, they (players) need the support from system,” added the coach.

Dassanayake said his team was outplayed by a strong side. “We made a lot of mistakes and PNG had a high-class fielding. In both the matches, we were short of 20-25 runs,” he said. “If I have to compare, Nepal’s game has gone up and the oppositions are better than us. We are on the right path and we just need that push to win matches in the WCL.”

Dassanayake said he would be leaving Nepal will lots of memories. “I have some life-time memories and I am really happy to be a part of Nepal and proud to be coaching these players,” he said. “I have decided to move forward and I would like to see Nepal cricket grow and win matches in bigger stage. Even if I am not here, I will be happy to see that,” he added.