This is an article written by Siddhant Bhatta to mark 16 years of Paras Khadka's presence in Nepali Cricket.
Sixteen years ago, Today was the day when a young bloke who was in his late adolescence was handed his debut cap in the Mecca of Nepali cricket; TU Cricket Ground, Kritipur.
ICC Intercontinental Cup was on its way as Paras was given his debut cap. For a teenager to represent his country, to play in national colors, for the nation’s pride, it was a dream come true moment, and paras seemed to enjoy every bit of it. Malaysia was the visiting team, as they won the toss and opted to bat in spin’s paradise. Their batsman was completely bamboozled against Nepali spinners where they shared five wickets in-between. As all the ten batsmen got out, scoreboard only read 132 means it was advantage Nepal after first innings. You Know Nepali batting right? Yes, They have messed themselves one more time, It was 5-38 when Paras came out in the middle he was given the responsibility to rescue Nepali innings he lived up to expectations in his very first game scoring a well-fought forty-four runs and that was when a hero was born. Not all heroes wear capes, He was on with a helmet, pads, gloves and a bat in his hand.
Paras has been the mainstay of Nepali cricket rescuing the chronic collapse of Nepali batting from the last fourteen years. He has been the ray of hope amidst the gloom. With Paras, Nepali cricket has achieved the unprecedented, left no stone unturned from the depths of World Cricket League Division Five in 2010, playing against the likes of Fiji and Bahrain, to securing their first-ever ODI series win at the end of the decade against UAE, Paras has been the man who stood as tall as a mountain whenever Nepal was in trouble be it on t or off the field. He fought against the corrupt for the prosperity of the game he loved. He has been the role model for past a decade from extracting best from youngsters like Sandeep Lamichhane and Dipendra Singh Airee, the never-ending appetite for success – Paras Khadka has shown all the qualities that a great leader would possess.
It’s fair to say Paras is the most dynamic batsman Nepali cricket had ever produced. He is the only batsman to have scored century both in ODIs and T20Is for Nepal. Let us not outshine Paras Khadka’s bowling ability while talking about his batting. He is a handy customer with a ball who can bowl both off-spinners and medium pace and provides important breakthroughs to his team. While I talk about his bowling most of you may have reminiscence of that first ball in T20 World Cup back in 2014 but let’s not forget his last over bowling against the Netherlands. It was Nepal’s debut ODI series in the Netherlands where Nepal Lost the first game by a fair margin as a result of batting apocalypse. In the second game, After Paras and Sompal prevented Nepal from a possible batting apocalypse as the scoreboard read 215 it was not a big total but there was something for bowlers to fight for. Netherlands, with just six to score off last six balls, were the favorites but they were 9 down so there was a ray of hope for Nepal too. With all the pressure, Paras himself came to bowl and pulled off a win for Nepal beating Netherlands by the margin of just one run.
Khadka’s humbleness is praiseworthy and has down to earth attitude that’s the reason why he is vaunted amongst the admirer of this beautiful game. Nepali may produce many brilliant cricketers in the coming future but nobody would fill the big shoes of Paras. His contribution to cricket in Nepal cannot be measured by any of the scientific or ancient measuring rules/tools.