Ujjwal Acharya (NepalCricket.com)
Nepal's target in the upcoming Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 5 will be to 'win every game', according to coach Roy Dias.
Cricket Nepal talked to Dias, the former Sri Lankan Test player, during USA's practice match against Kathmandu at the TU Cricket Ground. Excerpts:
How was the preparation for the tournament?
Preparation has been very good. I had a lot of time, one and half month. In between we had a lay off for a week which was good for rest. We have been practicing at Bhaktapur and TU. So for me, everything is ready now.
How do you look forward to this event?
It's a very, very important tournament for Nepal cricket. And, also for all others team. Fiji and USA are here much before the event; this shows how important this tournament is for them too.
What's the target for Nepal?
Our target is to win every game. I am not thinking of the last game; first of all we have to finish the game against Jersey in Bhaktapur. By the time we come to the last game, we will know our position. We are taking one game at a time.
The boys are geared up; they know how important the tournament is.
Are you looking forward to play the final?
Of course. Because it's for the promotion from Division 5 to 4.
Which country do you think will be the toughest opponent?
If you take Fiji and Jersy, they have already played in Div 4. So they must have a little bit experience of playing top sides of Div 4.
But I would rate USA as a strong side because they have just returned from the World Cup Twenty20 qualifier tournament. As I watch them playing here, I feel they are a good side. There are West Indians and a few Pakistanis and Indians. We have played them in Jersey [earlier Div 5 where Nepal defeated USA to finish third].
So I feel USA and Jersey are strong side. But you cannot take out any other team. It's an open tournament.
How strong is Nepal?
We are a very good side. On papers, every player can bat. Bowling, we have a good combination of fast and spin - the best available. If you have to name a key player?
Captain Paras Khadka will be a very important person not only as a player but also as a captain. He is a very intelligent cricketer. Then we have Mehboob Alam, who has not flared as we have expected in a last few months possibly because of his fitness and all. But for this tournament, he has trained very hard. It's also important tournament for him also because it's on the home country where he is the most popular cricketer. Then, Dipendra Chaudhary has matured as a cricketer.
For coach Roy Dias, how important is the tournament?
Very, very important. I think the most important tournament that I would take part as a coach of Nepal.
We will be playing at home ground and in front of huge crowd. Would it be pressure or advantage for the Nepal team?
I don't think it would be a pressure. It would be an advantage. They know the fans will be supporting them and they know they have to play well for the fans. Nepal is a lucky venue for Nepal.
What are your words to the fans?
They have to behind the players, support them. And, whatever the outcome is, they have to support the team because they too want to perform well.