It's quarter finals day, December 2002, my first tour as a 15-year-old, now having to face off Bangladesh. Just sometime back our U-19 team had beaten them in New Zealand causing quite a buzz with Nepal being represented as a cricketing nation. We were a bunch of young lads full of hope, energy and the determination to win anything that came across us. The U-15 Asia Cup was my first experience of playing international cricket. The pride, the ego and ofcourse the inner belief was beyond measurement. Having beaten all the non test playing countries in the round robin league comprehensively, we also manged to scare India and put a brave performance.The difference being just 26 runs short, but still after that performance,we were upbeat about moving forward.
Bangladesh had just acquired Test status in 2000. We were now facing the Bengali Tigers as a Test Playing country but only fours years ago we were fighting it off with them in ACC Senior Mens Trophy back in our home ground. By then and still now the game still hasn't moved on as needed to and here we were till date fighting it off at associate and affiliate level. Anyways, it was one more opportunity for us to go out there and show our cricketing credentials. We went into the game with the belief and the hunger was very evident in everyone's eyes. We won the toss and decided to field as that formula had kept us going throughout the tournament.The game was set up nicely with three quick early wickets and in my quota of seven economically bowled overs,i also managed to get Mushfiqur Rahim,current Bangladesh Test Captain out bowled.
Being the vice captain of the team i always lent my word of advice and tried to lead by setting examples on the field. i had one of the safest pair of hands and was running around the field in the hope of creating something.Having just finished my first spell, i was fielding Long on to Long on ( from one point of the ground to another)after everyover, just with that extra energy to create opportunities for the team to win. Raj shresthaif i am not mistaken, our captain was bowling and then i saw the batsman skip down the wicket hit the ball towards me. I saw it coming towards the pavilion side of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi where i was stationed.We were playing in white clothings then and the red ball came across slowly from the blue clear background with me running towards it with all the confidence in me. I ran across, saw the ball go back, stepped back and then ran across towards my right with my fingers pointed the Australian way to catch the ball. Next thing i remember, pop, the Ball hit me right on my nose and i fell down flat on the ground numb, bloodied and Semi-unconscious.The only thing i heard next was the voice saying throw the ball, throw the ball, then i gotup to see a red round thing gathered it and hurled it back somewhere and boom i fell back on the ground again.
Out came the Ambulance, as i remember vaguely, i was put on a stretcher taken to the hospital in my semi-conscious state, all i could hear was the siren and nothing else. i was rushed to and taken into emergency, the doctor examined, had an X-ray done, fortunately not a broken nose but a cut in the upper nose and a swollen eyes.As i regained consciousness, the first thing i asked was the match situation. They had score 190 and if we passed that we would make it to the semis which would mean we would get to play Pakistan. I asked the Doctor if i could go back to the field and after being persistent, thus he finally allowed me to get back.
As i reached the ground, we had already started batting and i saw we were shaping up well with Pawan Das our opening batsmen anchoring the ship.The boys were shocked to see me come back so fast but for me myself i just wanted to be there to see my team go through. I even went in to bat after the fifth wicket fell,although the team management did not agree to at first. I just wanted to contribute howsoever and today when i look back today i feel my determination is what helped me scrape through that day. Pawan made precious 62 runs that day and others chipped in bits and pieces. i made two runs. Later on Bantu Bataju our fast bowling allrounder who then manged to score unbeaten match winning 22 runs came up to me and told me that he wanted to win it for me and the team. He tood me he got the courage to go for the win once he saw me go out and bat at my medical condition and when i remind myself of those words, i still consider it to be one of the. favourite compliments i have received from a team mate. We won the Game by three wickets in the end and celebrations went crazy. I returned back to a noisy bus environment and by evening i had nothing but liquid diet as recommended by the doctor to look forward to. Cheeers to my first victory over a test playing nation and thank god i was there to witness it through my then swollen eyes and an almost broken nose.