Anirudh Thapa has maintained a strong and enduring relationship with the Indian national team. He first represented the Indian U14 side before joining the AIFF Elite Academy at the age of 14. Since then, he has become a prominent figure in various Indian age group tournaments.

Thapa was part of the U16 team that won the 2013 SAFF U16 Championship and participated in the qualifiers for the AFC U16 Championship. He then advanced to represent the U19 team in the SAFF U19 Championship.

His impressive performances at the youth level did not go unnoticed, leading to his senior national team debut in 2017 against Saint Kitts and Nevis at just 19 years old. The midfielder has also represented India at the U23 level and has been a consistent member of the senior team since his debut.

At 26, Thapa has already earned 57 international caps, a feat many can only dream of. He is currently the fourth-most capped player in the national team, behind only Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and Sandesh Jhingan.

During his seven-year tenure with the senior team, Thapa has experienced many highs and lows. He is now preparing for the next major event for the Indian team – the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait. A victory in this fixture could significantly enhance the Blue Tigers’ chances of advancing to the third round of qualification.

"Seven years with the national team have been fantastic. I've played with some great players in the past and now also as players keep coming. I'm still learning a lot from my teammates and playing international matches for my country. I was fortunate enough to continue playing without missing any camps in those seven years," Thapa told

"It's an absolute honour to wear the national team jersey. It was always a dream to play for India. Whenever I play for the jersey, I give my best. I don't really have a target for how long or how many games I'll play. Every day and every game for India is a proud moment for me," he added.

The midfielder was given his first start for the team against Chinese Taipei during the 2018 Intercontinental Cup, where he assisted a goal for Sunil Chhetri. It took another year for him to score his first international goal, which came on the grand stage of the continental championship—a moment he still regards as the best in his international career.

Thapa scored India’s third goal in their impressive 4-1 victory over Thailand in the opening match of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

"It was in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 when we beat Thailand 4-1 (India's first win in the tournament in 55 years) and I was one of the scorers. It was my first goal for the national team,” stated Thapa.

Like many youngsters, Thapa was fortunate to share the grand stage with Indian captain Sunil Chhetri for an extensive period.

As Chhetri prepares for his final international game, Thapa reflected on his time playing alongside the Indian icon in the national colours, recalling how Chhetri guided and inspired him as well as many others.

"Over the past seven years, whenever I've been in the national camp, he's been the one everyone looks up to. He is an example-setter. He used to guide us through everything, tell us new things like how to stay fit, and what to do in your daily life. He has been a mentor for all," he said.

All eyes will now be on the upcoming match in Kolkata, which will also mark Chhetri’s farewell game. However, beyond that, this game presents a crucial moment for the Blue Tigers in their quest for qualification to the third round.

Thapa, who joined Kolkata side Mohun Bagan Super Giant last summer, is now familiar with the fervent Kolkata crowd. He asserts that they will give their utmost to secure three points against Kuwait, mirroring their performance in the away fixture, and bid a proper farewell to their captain.

"It is an important match for all of us, and especially for Sunil bhai. We need to make sure that we qualify for the third round because that would be huge for Indian football and the fans. We're playing at the Salt Lake and the stadium will be fully packed. We all know how crazy the fans are and how much they love football there. We will give our best for the nation. We need to be at our best to get those three points," said Thapa.