Former Nepal captain Paras Khadka has announced his retirement from international cricket. The 33-year old allrounder, who started out representing Nepal at the Under-15 level in 2002, played 10 ODIs and 33 T20Is and served as captain from 2009 to 2019, which made him the longest-serving captain in Associate cricket when he had resigned from the role.
"Playing for Nepal has been my biggest achievement and for that, I will always be indebted towards my coaches, players, fans, stakeholders, friends and family for their continuous support over the last 18 years since I started as a young 15-year-old, back in 2002," Khadka said in a statement on his Twitter account.
"Why now? Because it's about time. As a cricketer, I have given my heart, blood and soul and have always dreamt to achieve better for my country. My ultimate dream is to see Nepal have a better cricketing system for which I have spent all my energy in the last two decades and to improve it will require equal support from everyone in the cricketing community and beyond.
"I believe with everyone's honest effort and intention; we will be able to do so."
For the majority of his tenure, Khadka was the most important batter in Nepal's line-up, playing the backbone at No. 3 and 4.
With 799 T20I runs and 315 runs in ODIs, he is Nepal's highest scorer in both formats. He is also the first Nepal batter to score a ton in both the formats, and the only one to have done so in ODIs so far. He also contributed with his offspin, while sometimes bowling medium pace, taking nine and eight wickets in ODIs and T20Is respectively.
Under his captaincy, Nepal rose through the ranks to claim T20I status in 2014, and later ODI status in 2018 for the first time. He also led Nepal to their first ODI series win, against UAE in January 2019. Another major achievement under his captaincy was leading Nepal to their first ever major global event at the senior level when they clinched a berth at the 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh. He stepped down from captaincy following Nepal's readmission as an ICC Associate Member in October 2019. He led Nepal to 11 wins in 26 completed matches in T20Is, and three wins in six ODIs.
His last international match was in March 2020, against Thailand, at the ACC Eastern Regional T20. In November 2020, he was among six players who were shortlisted for the ICC men's Associate cricketer of the decade award.