In the 18 years he played for Nepal, two distinct avatars of Paras Khadka emerged. The middle-order batsman and medium-pacer who captained the national men’s cricket team for a decade was a brilliant all-rounder, leading Nepal to some unbelievable wins, most notably during the T20i World Cup in 2014. His second avatar was that of a fearless speaker who never stopped talking about the need for sweeping reforms in how Nepali cricket has been run over the years. He repeatedly took on the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) bigwigs, his employers who were mostly political appointees.
It thus comes as music to the ears of Nepali cricket fans that Khadka, after his retirement at the age of 33, is now interested in serving in the association. In fact, even though he has not said so publicly, his constant tussles with CAN administrators might have contributed to his relatively early retirement. Perhaps he had had enough. Khadka had given up captaincy in 2019 and would have retired the same year had there been other players in the pipeline to fill his giant boots.
In many ways Khadka was Nepal’s first sporting idol, loved across generations. The millennials could easily identify with his fearless persona. The ease with which he presented himself abroad was also something of pride for the whole country. The body language of the whole team had changed under him. The new message: they would be pushovers no more. Khadka, as captain, was also a master at working the media, a trait that helped bring much-needed attention to the dysfunctional state of national cricket.
We here at ApEx would like to wholeheartedly thank Khadka for the countless moments of joy he brought to us while representing Nepal. You were a treat to watch. We also hope that you get into cricket administration soon. We need administrators who know the game, who can work in cricketers’ interests, and who can fend off political interference. Again, Captain Nepal fits the bill perfectly.