As Nepal’s skipper, Paras Khadka, rightly said after arriving to Tribhuwan International Airport few days back, “Nepal cricket needs postmortem”. If it will happen, then we are sure to see some change in Nepal Cricket Team’s most infected area. Needless to say, opening department is Nepal’s most infected area. There are some move Nepal Cricket can take at current scenario. They can shuffle their batting order to try pinch hitter or hard hitter to open the innings for them. Binod Bhandari and Karan KC are two of most probable contender, if Nepal would decide to do so. If Nepal would decide to call new proper opener in the side then, Sunil Dhamala is undoubtedly most probable contender of it.

Sunil Dhamala was born on 11th January 1997. He was born on Nepal’s hilly district, Kalikot. His family migrated to Himachal Pradesh of India for livelihood. He was too young at that moment. He started playing cricket there on since his very early days. He used to visit Nepal during festivals as his close relatives were on Dhangadhi. Once, he got to know Nepal’s rising craze for cricket then he decided to give his everything to establish a cricketing career in his homeland.

Image © KoshiOnline

Sunil Dhamala was then Nepal’s well familiar name on age level cricket. 21 year-old determined opening batsman, Dhamala, can also give some handy off-spin bowling option to Nepal. He not only can roll his arm, he can provide some vital breakthrough through his bowling. His excellent show for Nepal U19 team along with 112 runs on Ruslan T20’s 4 matches saw him to represent Nepal senior side on 2017 against Kenya in TU international cricket ground. He failed to impress on his 2 consecutive appearances for Nepal as he produced 3&1 runs innings respectively. He was dropped from Nepal cricket team but that did nothing to this fluent batsman’s confidence. He took it as motivation to upgrade his game. His performance in Nepal’s last three important domestic tournament suggests that, he is horse of long race. Representing Pokhara Rhinos on Everest Premier League 2017, he scored 171 runs in his 6 innings. He averaged splendid 42.75 in low scoring T20 tournament (EPL17) with the highest score of unbeaten 70 runs. His graph kept on rising as he scored 229 runs in his 7 T20’s innings of Dhangadhi Premier League 2018. He averaged 38.16 with highest score of 78 runs for Dhangadhi Team Chauraha. He averaged 64.33 in Nepal’s lone 50 overs-format tournament, Prime Minister Cup 2018. Playing for Nepal Police Club, he registered 193 runs in his tally.

He seems as Nepal’s next opener by all mean. When we threw this question to Rajan Shah (@momocricket), he reacted like this “It would be wonderful actually. Let’s respect the whatever domestic cricket we play. In doing that, let’s give a chance to one of the most consistent batsman in Nepal. Sunil Dhamala sure fits that bill. And to say he is an opener might solve Nepal national team’s long standing problem. He might not be able to do it or not, but who knows, by trusting him and allowing that breathing space with a number of chances he might be able to perform like he does in domestics”.

He is performing consistently in domestic circuit but still lacking plenty of chances in international level. As per him, that is not demotivating him at all. One of our representative, (@Imroshan41), caught up with Sunil Dhamala. His conversation with Dhamala is presented below.

How it feels, not getting opportunities to represent your nation after performing consistently in domestic circuit?
– It feels nothing regrettable as far as team is performing well. Barring unfortunate result in Asia Cup Qualifier, our team was performing very well and rising above in ranking, lately. When team is performing well, captain and team management want to carry winning team and momentum. So it was reasonable for me to not to get chance.

  • When team’s overall performing is having good then some weakness and errors can get hidden or excused (He reacted to our question about Nepal’s openers regular failure)

What sort of exercise are you doing to get into Nepal national side?
– Nowadays I’m working on my skills and fitness. Considering rainy reason, nowadays I’m devoted to indoor training and fitness. But I’m not doing all this to get into the national side. I don’t want to carry this extra pressure with me. I’m doing this all to improve my game and to perform my best, no matter wherever I’m playing.

What’s your family take or feedback over your cricketing career nowadays?
– I would be nowhere without their support and motivation. Whenever something bad happen to me, they are the first one to back me up. My parents used to tell me that, you’re doing well but do more better and keep on improving everyday. According to them, people talk and praise me a lot so its also a kind of achievement. Everyone isn’t fortunate enough to get that.

What is the main theme of your cricketing career?
– I want to enjoy my game and always give my best wherever I’m playing. Every level of cricket has it own value so irrespective of the level and standard of the tournament, I want to perform well and carry on my career as long as I can. If I get chance to play for my nation at any moment then I would like to ponder some prestigious feat.

Did you face any hurdle to start your cricketing career? You are unlike to face it now, are you?
– Everyone face difficulties to start anything, no matter how small thing it is. Talking about now, I have nothing to be called as hurdle. I’m working hard, playing the game which I love the most and scoring runs. So this is what I live for.

At any point of your career, do you feel like giving up on your cricketing career? (considering insecure sporting career in Nepal)
– To be honest, cricket was and is one and only option for me. I’m neither good in study nor on any other activities. So i backed myself on every difficulties and take me to this stage. Now I’m not going to give up. In fact, cricket has given me a lot and I’m seriously thankful to it.

What Captain Paras Khadka and Coach Jagat Tamata has to say about your game? Are they boosting up your confidence?
– They always back me. I’m regularly selected for closed camp so they are giving feedback about my cricket. They always come up give with some handy tips to improve my game. Talking about confidence, it will come along with matches you play.

Is there any specific weakness which do you think is putting you away from national colour?
– I’m working with my ability to rotate the strike. I played very less matches so I may have some weakness, but in the end of the day, the runs you scored matter the most.

Image © TheHimalayanTimes

Are you adding any particular shot in your syllabus?
– Actually no. I’m working to make my shots strong rather than working on new shot. As I said, how many runs you score matter more than how it come.

What is your most like aspect of Nepali Cricket?
– I never get tired of praising Nepali Cricket. Despite of not having proper domestic structure, we go on to perform and give tough fight to top associate nations. For example, look at players from Netherlands, they are signed with any of clubs like county clubs. They are playing 250 matches per year on average. But we take more than 2 years to play 200 matches. So with all this odd, Nepali Cricket is standing tall which I like the most.

What is your most unlike aspect of Nepali Cricket?
– Cricket is making a nation known to the world. But we are still to hear any applaudable feedback from governing body. ICC is looking after Nepali Cricket, but they are also not doing what they can. They used to give us local clubs to practice. It would help us to enhance our skill, if given at least A side of any nation. These are something I feel bad about Nepali Cricket.

What kind of steps should be taken to uplift the standard of Nepali Cricket players and Nepali Cricket overall.
– There should be long multi-day tournament. Players should be busy on cricket throughout the year. There should be good ground and wicket to play on. These are some of small things which can be done easily but responsible body is making it difficult.

Which Nepali Player motivate you the most?
– You are your biggest motivator. So I motivate myself the most. I’m shy kind of guy so I only interact with other on required basis. Everyone has their own work and weakness to work on so you should motivate yourself.

Moving towards your personal choice

Who is your cricketing Idol?
– Sachin Tendulkar

Which particular shot you love to play?
– Cover Drive

Which is your favorite innings so far?
– Ammm, 70 odds runs against Ireland in U19 World Cup Qualifier.

Who is your favorite player of world cricket?
– Brendon McCullum

Who is your favorite Nepali Cricketer?
– Obviously Paras Khadka.

At last, What Sunil Dhamala want to tell to his fans through CricketConcern?
– I have no words of thankfulness to our fans. Thank you all for loving and supporting us. No matter wherever I will be playing, whether domestic or international cricket, keep on supporting me and I will try my best not to disappoint you.

(Feature Image Taken From Dhamala’s Facebook Profile)

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