KATHMANDU, June 11: Mahesh Chhetri, opening batsmen cum wicket keeper of Nepali cricket team, who has spent 12 years playing for Nepal, is working hard to see himself in the national team, six months after his exclusion from national duty.
Mahesh, nicknamed Mahi, was in the squad for the match against Papua New Guinea during World Cricket League Championship in November last year.
But he has been an outsider for national team since then. However, he spent more than four months playing club cricket in New York, USA.
Nepal played only two matches of the championship (third round) against Namibia between the periods. Nepal hosted Namibia in April and beat the visitors on both the legs played at the TU cricket ground, Kirtipur. Now, Nepal is scheduled to play two matches of the Championship against the Netherlands on August 13 and 15.
“I am quite sure of making in the team as I have been spending enough time practicing with national players at the Tribhuvan University Ground in Kirtipur,” said Mahesh, 28, who first appeared for national team during age group tournament -- U-15 Asia Cup cricket held in 2002 in the United Arab Emirates.
However, he believes that there was a tough competition to make a place in the team as young players were also doing extremely well in the recent time. “There are numbers of wicket-keepers and making a place in the national squad is a challenging job. However, I am confident of making comeback in the team against Kenya in the very next match, if not against the Netherlands” he added.
A resident of Nepalgunj, he also played ICC U-19 World Cup twice in 2006 and 2008 and was the part of the team which won Plate Championship in 2006.
Nepal had defeated New Zealand by one wicket to win Plate Championship in 2006 World Cup held in Sri Lanka which Mahesh describes as one of the biggest achievement of his cricket career. Nepal had also defeated Test team South Africa in the competition.
“Winning Plate Championship and beating teams like New Zealand and South Africa were happiest moment as a player. We defeated the Kiwis squad studded with current international stars like Martin Guptill and Tim Southee,” recalls Mahesh.
Son of retired employee of Nepal Bank Limited, Sanjay Kumar Chhetri and Parbati Chhetri, Mahesh is also an employee of Nepal Army and also plays for Tribhuvan Army Club in domestic cricket.
Mahesh debuted for the national team in 2006 during ACC Trophy held in Malaysia where he scored 39-ball 56 runs in a match against Bhutan. Since then he had a glittering career as a cricketer and left impressive mark in the national squad.
Married to Binita Pariyar around three years back, he says that he has been getting full support from his family members since he took up cricket. “My father was a karate player and there was sports friendly environment in my family. I used to think of being a karateka during my childhood. However, one of my close friends used to play cricket and I followed him which later became a turning point in my career,” he said.
Though he is not much worried about the suspension and controversies of the Cricket Association of Nepal, he laments at the structure of domestic cricket. “Controversies regarding the CAN is an issue related to government. Players should focus on playing matches and I am sure good time will come. However, the controversies have hit domestic cricket events. Due to these frictions emerging players are not getting platform to show their talents,” added Mahesh, who left formal education at Intermediate level to focus on cricket.