Shakti calls time on int’l career

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 19, 2018-

Veteran cricketer and spin legend Shakti Gauchan, the longest serving member of the national cricket team, announced his retirement on Wednesday declaring Nepal’s tour to the England and the Netherlands will be his last.

The left-arm spinner Shakti, famously called “Shakti The Power” by Pakistani commentator Ramiz Raza during the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, brings curtain down to a stellar 17-year-old career that saw him become a household name as the country continued to take big strides in world cricket from being the minnows to a One-Day International (ODI) nation.

Shakti is in Nepal’s squad for the tour of England and the Netherlands where they will play their first ever ODI series after achieving the status through the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe this year.

“We are in the best stage of our cricket because current set of youngsters have always shown the hunger to deliver for the country. This is the right time for me to clear the path for the new generatioin. I have always felt that if the upcoming generation is ready to take over, I will be ready to call it quits. The time has finally come now,” Shakti said during a press conference.

The ODI series against the Dutch will be Shakti’s last tour game for the national team but he also wants to give it a go for the one last time on home turf as well. “If I get an opportunity to bid goodbye in front of the home ground it would be a great farewell that any Nepali cricketer could ask for. I’ve talked to the management, players and officials to arrange a match for me at home and hopefully will get a chance to say goodbye in front of the home crowd,” added Shakti.

Shakti made his debut for Nepal with the 2002 ACC Trophy against Oman and was the first player from the national team to score 1,000 runs having initially started his career as an opening batsman. He is the third Nepali cricketer to take 100 wickets after his contemporaries Mehboob Alam and Basanta Regmi.

With the arrival of former coach Pubudu Dassanayake, Shakti went through the disappointment of being excluded from the national team in the 2011 ACC Twenty20. But the snub worked in his favour as the veteran fought his way back in time for the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in UAE where his cricket took new heights.

Shakti became the only Nepali cricketer to take a hat-trick in international cricket which he achieved against Denmark in the Qualifiers. His iconic footballer-like celebration in the UAE made him an exciting cricketer and the impressive performance earned him a call for the training camp by the Indian Premier League outfits Rajasthan Royals.

The Rajasthan Royals camp further bolstered his reputation as a spinner after he bowled Rahul Dravid in the nets and earned praise from the Indian cricket legend. The left-arm spinner, however, didn’t want to dwell in the past. “From the time we sat on the floor to have food (when we started playing cricket) to this moment when we are dining at Five Star hotels, it really has been long and incredible journey for me. Even a single day might not be enough to go down the memory lane,” said an ever-smiling Shakti.

“We are going to make history in the Netherlands because I have always dreamed of playing ODIs. I really want this generation to bid farewell to the game by playing the Tests like I am doing it with my debut ODI series. I would like to thank everyone, coach, captain and the entire team,” added Shakti.

Shakti captained Nepal during the 2001 ACC U-17 Asia Cup in Bangladesh and later led the U-19 team, scoring centuries for both the youth and senior side. He is also the first cricketer to score century for Nepal in the World Cricket League structure which he did against Italy in 2005 Division 2 Qualifier. Shakti played nine Twenty20 Internationals for Nepal picking up eight wickets. He had 18 wickets in List A and 31 in Twenty20s. He has a total of five wickets in the First Class matches.

Published: 19-07-2018 08:48

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