Nepal’s Lamichhane to join T20 World Cup squad in West Indies



(Kathmandu) - Sandeep Lamichhane will join Nepal's T20 World Cup squad in the West Indies after missing matches in the United States because his visa was denied, the cricket association said Monday.

Nepal had originally wanted to select former skipper Lamichhane, who had an eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal, but his US visa was denied twice despite intense lobbying.

The T20 World Cup is being co-hosted by the United States and West Indies.

"Nepali player Sandeep Lamichhane will leave for the West Indies for the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup and join the Nepali national cricket team," association secretary Paras Khadka said in a statement.

Spin bowler Lamichhane, 23, was once the poster boy for cricket in Nepal, but was convicted for raping a young woman in a Kathmandu hotel in 2022. That was quashed last month.

"I am now joining the national team for the last two matches in the West Indies and looking forward to fulfilling my dreams and the dream of all cricket lovers," Lamichhane posted on X, formerly Twitter.

"To all our cricket fans and people back home everywhere who prayed for me, I will forever be grateful for your blessings."

His social media posts with the announcement were welcomed by fans and filled with congratulatory messages.

Nepal lost to the Netherlands by six wickets in their World Cup opener.

They play Sri Lanka on Wednesday in Florida, before group matches in the West Indies against South Africa and Bangladesh.

Before his rape trial, Lamichhane's success as a leg-spinner had dramatically boosted the sport's profile in the Himalayan republic.

In 2022, when an arrest warrant was first issued, Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.

He was dismissed as national captain and arrested, but Nepal lifted his playing ban when he was freed on bail.

It allowed him to keep playing, including at last year's Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, until he was convicted in January. The conviction was quashed in mid-May.

Cricket does not enjoy the same attention in Nepal as it does elsewhere in South Asia.

But the sport has been growing in popularity, with Nepal given one-day international status by world governing body the ICC in 2018.

Lamichhane was a major part of the rise as the most sought-after Nepali cricketer in lucrative T20 leagues around the world.

The bowler's big break came when he was snapped up for the Indian Premier League, the world's richest cricket tournament, in 2018.



  Comments - 1


You May Also Like