Shakti Gauchan speaks during a farewell of the national cricket team in Kathmandu on Wednesday. (Right) Members of Nepal national cricket team pose for a group photo before leaving for England. Photo: Bijay Gajmer/Republica
KATHMANDU, July 19: Nepal veteran bowler Shakti Gauchan has announced on Wednesday that he will retire from the national colors after Nepal’s inaugural ODI against the Netherlands.
The Nepal squad, which was announced on Tuesday, included 34-year-old Gauchan. The team will play against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in a T20 triangular and against the Netherlands in an ODI match.
Gauchan has played in eight T20 international matches for Nepal and has picked up eight wickets giving away 169 runs. He had the best bowling average of 9/3 in those matches.
Nepal was praised for its spin attack when it participated in the 2014 ICC World Twenty20. The praise came when veteran spinner Gauchan claimed three wickets against Hong Kong. Pakistan’s former cricketer Rameez Raja gave him the nickname ‘Shakti the Power’.
Gauchan, who has been spearheading the spin attack of Nepal for the last 16 years, is behind many of Nepal’s successes in the international arena.
He has announced that he will retire after the ODI match against the Netherlands, when Nepal will start its journey in the 50-over format after gaining ODI status. He informed that he will retire after the Europe tour in a press meet organized in the capital on Wednesday.
“I have a desire to end my career in front of the Nepali crowd. There is no happier moment than that for a player. So, I have decided to hang my boots after playing in a domestic tournament in Nepal,” an emotional Gauchan said at an event organized in the capital to bid farewell to the national team. “The match against the Netherlands will be my last international appearance.”
“There are young and talented players in the national team, and I think this is the best time for me to retire as the younger players are very capable to do the job for the national team.”
Gauchan further added that he was happy to be included in the squad to play in Nepal’s ODI match.
“I always wished to play in an ODI match for Nepal. My wish will be fulfilled when we play against the Netherlands. I am very happy to get this opportunity.”
Nepal is playing in its first international ODI series against the Netherlands on August 1 and 3 after getting the ODI status from the cricket governing body, International Cricket Council (ICC). Nepal is leaving for London on Thursday for the preparation of those games. Nepal will also play against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Netherlands in a T20 triangular series on July 29 at the Lord’s Cricket Stadium in London. After that, Nepal will play against the ODI matches against the Netherlands.
Gauchan is a veteran of the Nepal national cricket team. He has been a regular member of the team for the last 16 years. He made his national team debut against Oman in 2002.
National team captain Paras Khadka said that he was lucky to have the opportunity to play with a dependable player like Gauchan. “Shakti is the most hard-working player in Nepali cricket. I feel that I won’t be able to play cricket when I reach his age,” Khadka said. “The government should properly evaluate his contribution to Nepal cricket.”
Gauchan, who came through the youth ranks from the U-17 to U-19 teams, eventually went up to the national team. He has played the U-19 World Cup for Nepal. He is often regarded a motivator for the other players. He has often proved himself instrumental in dismantling the opposition’s innings, and rescuing his team in difficult situations.
Gauchan has claimed a total of eight wickets with an economy of 5.63 in the nine international T20 matches he has played. Gauchan has also made 171 runs in six innings of the four first-class matches he has participated. Likewise, he has picked up 18 wickets with the economy of 3.85 in 23 list A matches.
He was also the second highest wicket taker in the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers in 2012 with 16 wickets.
He also got his hat-trick in the qualifying match against Denmark which made him the first Nepali player to claim a hat-trick. He also claimed 15 wickets in the ACC Trophy in 2012 and 10 in the Division Four matches.
He has also shown an outstanding feat by taking three wickets, giving away just two runs in 10 overs with eight maidens in Division Four match.