Strong mental approach the key, says Paras

KATHMANDU; “Team spirit and strong mental approach are the keys to success,” said skipper Parash Khadka on Sunday, on the eve of their departure to Kuwait for the ACC Elite Cup.

Nepal are drawn in Group A along with defending champions Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait and Oman in the eighth edition of the tournament slated for March 31 to April 9. But Paras is undaunted by the strength of their opponents. “Some of the teams are high at the ACC rankings but it makes hardly any difference to us as we have the potential to beat any side on a given day,” said Paras, who was instrumental in helping Nepal qualify for the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division-IV in February here.

“We need to carry forward the confidence which helped us win the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division-V,” said Paras. “Provided we have the right mental approach, we can beat any team,” added the skipper. Paras rated the tournament the most important of all the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) organised events. “If we fare well in Kuwait, it will certainly boost our confidence going into the Division-IV,” said the Nepal skipper.

Meanwhile, Nepal’s Sri Lankan coach Roy Luke Dias said that he wanted to finish his nine-year stint on a winning note. “We have not won any senior ACC event so far and I hope we can break the jinx in Kuwait,” added the coach. Dias believed that he has opted for the players who are the most experienced and confident. “We have depth in batting but it needs few of them to click for us to succeed,” added the coach, who indicated to open batting with the Mahesh Chettri and Anil Kumar Mandal pushing Shakti Gauchan and Mehboob Alam to No 7 and No 8 positions. Dias also praised Paras for his strong leadership and compared the skipper to the former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga. “Like Ranatunga, Paras do not fear to implement the strategy which he thinks is correct on a given situation no matter what,” added Dias.

Apart from Paras the 14-member Nepali team includes vice-captain Gyanendra Malla, Binod Das, Shakti Prasad Gauchan, Mehboob, Sanjam Regmi, Dipendra Chaudhary, Basanta Regmi, Mahesh, Sharad Vesawkar, Anil, Rahul Kumar BK, Amrit Bhattarai and Binod Bhandari. Suresh Dutta Pandey is the assistant coach and Binod Kumar Mainali the team manager.

The 10-team tournament includes the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Afghanistan, Malaysia, Bahrain and Bhutan in Group B. Nepal finished fourth in 2008 after losing against the eventual finalists the UAE in semi-finals. Nepal’S best showing in the tournament was in 2002 when they reached the final.

Member Secretary of the National Sports Council Hari Babu Chaudhary, Members Min Krishna Maharjan and Samim Miya Ansari, CAN President Binay Raj Pandey among others bade farewell to the team here today.