Ireland and Afghanistan became the newest Test nations | Getty
Ireland and Afghanistan became the newest Test nations | Getty

Nepal cricket team made history as they gained ODI status after beating Papua New Guinea (PNG) by six wickets in the World Cup Qualifier 2018 play-off at the Old Hararians Sports Club.

MS Dhoni lauded skipper Paras Khadka’s team and said it’s a big achievement. Restricted PNG at 114 in 27.2 overs, Nepal chased down the target in 23 overs.

Dhoni, who is in Lucknow on a business trip, said he had met the Nepalese players a few years ago and found them to be hard-working. “It’s (ODI status) a result of their hard-work and sincere effort. I don’t think that participation of small teams will dilute the standard of cricket the world over,” Dhoni said.

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Dhoni, however, admitted that Nepal’s bench strength isn’t as good as other strong teams, but they will improve with time. “To make cricket a global sport, I believe more and more such teams must come into the fray, and it is good that Associate nations are trying to gain ICC’s ODI status,” said Dhoni.

Saying Afghanistan was a classic example of how a nation can get better as a competitive international cricket team, Dhoni said: “Consistency is important and that’s why teams like UAE after playing some good cricket for a good time period, lost their way.”

Dhoni also spoke about his workload after quitting longer format. He said after quitting Test cricket, he was enjoying his time with ODIs and twenty20 cricket and there was no pressure of workload on him.

The 36-year-old’s next stop is Indian Premier League 2018. The opening game is between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, two of the biggest rivals, on April 7.

By Sihyeu Prakash Singh