Heroes behind the curtains: Vikram Nyaupane, a skilled physio

As a sports admirer and cricket enthusiast, all we have done is promote our game on a regular basis. We have kept everyone updated about the existing talents as well as future talents from different parts of the country. The heroes and to-be heroes after the curtain is opened are usually seen and admired by everyone. Very few of us remember the real heroes who polish and get our on-field heroes on sung by keeping them fit, able as well as preventing all possible injuries that are always around a sports person’s life and cricketers are always a part of it too.

In this section, we will be focused on our unsung heroes behind the curtains, who are always seen in the hotel rooms, before the live telecast, and after the live telecast is over. If they are seen in the middle of the telecast, then it is all because of the assessment of the players to make them feel good and carry on in their winning ways.

Likewise, we are introducing a humble and very professional hero behind the scene of the Nepalese Men’s Cricket Team, Vikram Nyaupane, known as Doc in the cricketing fraternity in Nepal. Before we begin with the story cum interview of Doc Nyaupane, let’s have a moment of nostalgia involving physio and cricket in early 2000 in Australia.

The incident was captured on the camera when Tommy Simsek( then Physio of Srilankan Cricket team) sprinted to and fro of the pavilion on the ground and back in between games to assess the players on the field. This was a regular sight wherever Sri Lanka played in that era as described by the evergreen robelinda2 in Youtube in the description of the video titled the famous “Sprinting physio”. Later on in 2007, when his article was published in www.espncricinfo.com by Sa’adi Thawfeeq quoted as” Cricket’s sprinting Turk” the reality of his sprint was unlocked.

He realistically presented his opinion as he was the one assessing the fitness of the team and was in no way in the mood to halt the game for a long period of time when his job in the middle was over. Hence, he opted to sprint out as much quickly as possible when he was asked about his sprint stint by Thawfeeq. This will give us a clear idea of how physiotherapists as professionals have given this game a lot unselfishly and without being in the spotlight.

Let’s begin our new stint with the man himself who has seen it all from a different eye behind the scene with young players as well as the old guns. Doc Vikram and a series of our questions will definitely be a treat to our readers in this lockdown phase to all the followers of cricket and beyond. Presenting you our series of telephonic conversations as a part of our new section.

What inspired you to choose this field and why particularly cricket among all sports?

Actually, I was preparing MBBS entrance before the thought of physiotherapy stuck in my mind, all thanks to my wife who then inspired me to go for it as she was aware that I was a practical person from the way go. I loved to work and yield results in the field and what better than Physiotherapy as I sit down and think currently answering your question. Apart from that, my wife(who was then my girlfriend) inspired me by telling me it was a large scope profession in the USA where she resided for study. I took her encouragement as faith and flew to Bangalore where I was exposed to all sorts of exciting field works as a part of the study in my Bachelor’s Degree.

There I learned about the growth of Nepali Cricket as I was fond of sports and decided to do a Master’s in Ortho and Sports injury with equal support and encouragement of my parents too. I returned in 2016 after the completion of my degree and straight away gave one on one treatment to few political leaders of the country. Soon, I researched sports physiotherapy and what better place than the National Sports Council could be there wherein a good environment I gave my 2 years with 90% manual treatment which I feel is a long-lasting as well as the right way of treatment. As a paid volunteer in Sports Council, I have fond memories of the place and it took my drive to the next important stint of my life. Cricket wouldn’t be possible without it so, I am very happy for those couple of years in the office in my starting phase.

 What all roles does a physiotherapist play in sports? Can you tell us what physiotherapy means to you?

Before taking you to my journey as a sports therapist or you can call Cricket physio, one thing that I feel is “Physiotherapy” is the spine and brain of sports. A vital field that teaches a sportsmen to bring discipline in his/ her life. As, a part of routine a physio not only prevents players from all possible injuries, but also maintains a tone right from the breakfast table to the hotel rooms that he sleeps , a physio is just a step away to assess you in any time of the day. That’s the fascinating part of this job to me. I train the players in gym , on the ground and off the ground as well. Todays world where exercise, training as well as fitness is the part of everyone’s life I am proud to be a part of the assessment to the national heroes taking the name of our county and flag forward. I love the parts of my job right from taping, endurance, recovery, training as well as treatment. the role of all five components are equally important to yield and extract the best result for the team that inspires millions of followers all over the globe.

Hence, that’s basically my stepping stones towards a magnificent Men’s National Cricket Team of Nepal.

Now, let’s hear about your journey towards the national men’s cricket team of Nepal? How it all started and your experience of the Senior Nepal Cricket team’s dressing room?

I started my career as a physio of the national men’s cricket team U-19 level, a step towards achieving dreams in the senior team for all budding cricketers in Nepal. A team is highly spirited as well as full of young blood. I started my cricketing journey with mental inspiration to budding cricketers. I gave myself a good thought of not only making the young boys ready for a physical challenge but provided them much required mental strength as well. It was always on the back of my mind that they have a lot of responsibilities and expectations from a wonderful fan following we’ve got for our cricketers in our nation. So, it was an all-important role for me before introducing myself to a wonderful set of senior players in the likes of Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, and Binod Bhandari. For me, it was a moment to cherish to be a part of the dressing room where you get inspired and motivated regularly.

I was nervous, to be frank, but the environment of togetherness and discipline made me feel comfortable and motivated me to give my best in the team. Similarly, franchise leagues in Nepal before the restoration of the Cricket Association of Nepal made me feel confident as I treated many players there in the leagues before joining the national team as a physio or Doc as they call me. I was proud and I will always be proud to have worked with the same enthusiasm after many years that I was a part of the ODI nation and assessed many players to get the best out of themselves.

What are the most common injuries among cricketers? What are their root cause?

Well, injury is something that we keep preparing for but can’t be stopped. There are a lot of injuries starting from back injuries, hamstring pull, tennis elbow, shoulder injury, ligament tear, knee injury and problems in the wrist are also common among the players. As we have seen with many young as well as senior players that injury can do damage to a lot of successful careers. Generally, the commitment levels are so high that we see it more often in players in training as they put out their sole percentage to prove their presence. We have seen some career halting injuries of Sagar Pun and a tough injury of Prithu Baskota who I personally feel was a loss not only to the youngster but for Nepal Cricket as well. Siddhant Lohani’s case of injury was a dangerous injury that took his batting momentum away from what it used to be.

The level of fitness, diet plan, exercise as well as lack of rehabilitation is the root cause that does ignite more often injuries and lack of comebacks for players. Slowly, with time everything is falling into the place and I am proud to admit that almost most of the players are following their discipline in everything they do to keep themselves match fit. The role of off-field discipline could be seen perfectly in the on-field performances of the players. Sompal Kami and Karan K.C. are the prime examples of comebacks with relatively tough injuries and not only come back but big comebacks are made by the boys and I feel proud of them.

Being on assignments, this role involves a lot of travelling and hectic hours? How do you manage your personal life and family time?

That’s a good question, I will keep it in a straightforward manner. I feel like a soldier on duty once I wear a national jersey along with our players. It makes me feel proud that I am one of few representing my country via cricket on a world stage. Although I work behind the scene I carry the same responsibility as on-field players and that’s what I make everyone around me understand. Thankfully, I have a very supportive family and a wonderfully understanding wife who is behind me in my every decision of life.

That doesn’t mean I take things for granted but I manage my time to talk with them and sometimes get a lot of anger because of the nature of my work. I tend to treat each player naturally and do my best to give them manual treatments which obviously takes time but helps them in long run. Hence, making my wife wait for an extra hour means not good planning for my future for sure(with chuckles of smile). I guess I have answered your question in the best possible manner.

What would be your advice to youngsters aspiring to make a career in sports physiotherapy?

I have stated before in some questions above too that in sports whether it be Cricket, Football, Judo, Karate, Basketball or you can name any sports in Nepal without the balance of diet, as well as routines of exercise performance, can’t be yield. In my point of view, I think this opens the door for a young physio to step in and bring out the result of the knowledge that he gains through years of hard work and passion. I find a lot of changes in the mindset of the organizers, teams as well as players in many sporting events currently, or rather I must admit recently I’ve felt like it is the best time to be a sports physiotherapist as everyone is much aware of getting the best out of themselves and winning names for the nation with pride.

In the past few years, I have found teams opting an individual physio wand organizers mandating the need for physio is a sign of where our sporting culture is heading. I’m glad that I am one of the few physios who has followed his passion and have seen a distinct improvement in my own field. If you’re ready to explore as well as learn new techniques and provide a proper application in players to yield their discomfort, then my friend I can assure you that you will be job satisfied in this field representing those beautiful national colors. That I think sums up an answer to inspire people of my field to join sports for the betterment of ourselves and sports as a whole in our beautiful country.

What is your ultimate goal as a Physio of Nepal Cricket Team?

I take this in a different way. In fact, something just struck my mind when I got this question in my text message. As you might be aware of the recently concluded Test series of India against Australia in their backyard and the Adelaide test when India got bundled for just 36 runs, they were out of the series mentally as presented in the memes and headlines of many news articles. But, that number was made as a goal and inspiration In fact badge by the coach and captain. That not only motivated them to move forward but also gave them a hunger to win the series which was out of sight amidst all adversities. That’s what cricket means to us and national players too. My goal is the same as my teams to play cricket world cup as well as make our country a Test nation in our times. I just like all the members of the Nepali Cricket team and followers dream a common thing of holding the flags of our nation to the highest peak of cricket and test nation is definitely that peak we would love to the summit.

Tell us something about influence of Dav Whatmore in Nepal Cricket Team.

Well Dav Sir, wow what can I tell about this superhuman being. He is the soul of the vibration and energy you see in our boys recently. From the outset, he has huge respect from all of us as he is one of the respected coaches all around the world. He knows what it takes to be a strong team and how can a small revision in any field can bring the best out of it. He always admires hard work as well as is a very open-minded personality and the right person to be at the chair of head coach of Nepal Men’s Cricket team. I have been a lucky person who gets the chance to spend most of my days with this huge personality of world cricket. He gives you moments of ease and is compatible in any conditions you put him to watch budding cricketers and their raw potential.

I was lucky to travel on one of his recently concluded tours in Biratnagar in province-1 as a part of the program, “Cricket with Dav Whatmore ” conducted by the Cricket Association of Nepal. I was amazed how he watched the young players from different academies in Biratnagar and Jhapa in that challenging heat. He was on one on one conversation with the budding players carrying potential and watched them play all days of the tour and program scheduled by cricket governing bodies. The young players got a lot to learn and I was not far from them as a student of the game to learn about the techniques and mindset he carried every day in the field. He has made my job easier and I learn a lot of stuff as he has been to the utmost level where we dream to be with all our hard work in few years.

We were amazed to read his answers on our phone and we read them many times before posting them here. The energy and triumph we see in all of the matches Nepal plays whether in-home or away from home is what motivates us to follow the game and people working behind the scene to put everything they have makes this sport special for every one of us. A human being like Vikram or rather I will also join in the line to say Doc Vikram Nyaupane inspired us to start this section where we will introduce more QA sessions cum articles and present the actual heroes remodeling our heroes to escalate their heroism and make our nation proud every day. In these testing times when we are supposed to keep our SPo2 levels check & balance, our diet in control, and make a habit of taking care of our fitness, Doc Nyaupane is and will be the oxygen of this team that will surely climb the highest peaks they are trying to climb together.

There was one last question which we thought we will not mention above in the series of questions and rather use it as a part of the concluding paragraph, we asked a simple question to choose the fittest players among the cricketers of the current batch and Vikram sir made us understand why cricket is always called the team game by replying our answer with several names that included Paras Khadka, Gyanendra Malla, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sandeep Jora, Avinash Bohara and the duo of Karan Kc as well as Sompal Kami. He also added that Kushal Bhurtel is also the one who is in the right frame of mind regarding diets and exercise. This makes our chest wide and proud that our generation is taking care of the game which was fought and conquered by the preceding generation with a lot of hardships.

We will try to open curtains from stories of a lot of people involved behind the scene of cricket and are playing vital roles in the development of the game. That’s what basically makes cricket more than a game!!

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