Ujjwal Acharya, NepalCricket.com
If anybody is qualified to be the icon of Nepali cricket, then it is Binod Das - the lean fast bowler representing the country since 1997. The 23-year-old lad of Kalaiya added one more feather to his already glittering cap by taking his 50th scalp in two-innings cricket.
When he got the wicket of Nadeem Ahmed of Hong Kong to finish off their first innings at 136, the most capped player for the country completed the feat - the first for the country. 'It's a great feeling,' the national captain commented on his feat. 'I thank my coach, Roy Dias, and the team support for the mile-stone.'
Binod's fifty wickets came in the eleventh match. For the feat, he bowled 301.2 overs and gave away 740 runs. He averaged 14.8 runs for a wicket and took five or more wickets on five occasions. His best was 6/29 against Hong Kong last year in the drawn match. 'It's good achievement,' coach Roy Dias said. 'It's good for a fast bowler and especially when he is not the lone pacer in the team.'
The amazing thing about the bowler is his consistency - he consistently bowls well and had missed just one three-day match during the last three years due to injury. Since he represented Nepal in the U-17 ACC Trophy in Hong Kong in 1997, he has been a regular member of any team he qualifies to play. He had played for the U-17 Asia Cup, three U-19 ACC Trophies and two Youth World Cups apart from the senior team. He has taken 43 wickets in one-day and 41 at the U-19 level to add to his one wicket at the U-17 level.
'It's a long road to come to fifty wickets, but I still I want to keep going - may be a hundred wickets,' he said adding that rather than his personal landmarks he wants the team to perform well. His expression also indicates to another quality of his - ‘he is a hard-working cricketer and he liked bowling' as Dias puts it.
An inspirational leader, who likes to lead by example, he is always willing to bowl. When it comes to the longer version of the game, he is never afraid to bowl a 10-over spell - as he bowled against Hong Kong on Friday and that too with the same zeal for the wickets. 'I know my limitations, and I wouldn't bowl if I feel tired' he had said when asked if he was over-bowling a year ago.
While Dias is happy about his captain, he also thinks he had underperformed with his bat. 'I want him to be a good all-rounder, not just a bowler' Dias said. Binod averages only 15 with 35 not out being his top score in those 11 matches. Coincidently, he also reached 200 runs today when he reached 20.
As the iconic cricketer had put it, he had traveled a long road, but he is still willing to travel even a longer road before he puts himself off the field and when he does that - he will certainly be carrying a lot of records with him.
Photos: Bikash Karki/The Kathmandu Post