Sandeep Lamichhane from Nepal has been in the news regularly this year for his exploits in cricket. The 18-year-old leg spinner from Nepal is now spoken about in the same breath as the cricketers from more established cricket nations. He has been successful because of the remarkable control he has of the ball for a wrist spinner. His accuracy is demonstrated from the number of bowled, lbw and stumped decisions that he has secured so far.
Born in 2000 in the Himalayan country, he had to shift his residence in order to join the Chitwan Cricket Academy in south-central Nepal. There he was spotted by the Nepal ex-captain Raju Khadka and an ex-coach who saw to it that he was inducted into the under-19 camp preparing for the 2016 ICC Under-19 cricket world cup. He was also noticed by Michael Clarke who invited him to play for the Western Suburb District Cricket Club in Sydney, Australia. He then played for Nepal in the ACC Under-19 Asia Cup winning the man of the match award for getting 5 wickets for 8 runs in a match against Malaysia in 2017.
Lamichanne was awarded the player of the tournament award in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two for dismissing 17 batsmen in 6 matches. He was listed among the ten players to watch in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers by the ICC. He was soon noticed by the scouts of the Indian Premier League. The Delhi Daredevils signed him up for the 2018 season. Sandeep played three games in the IPL bagging 5 wickets for an average of 16.3 runs. He made his one day debut against the Netherlands on 1 August this year. Earlier Lamichhane played in the Caribean Premier League for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
That his talent is appreciated worldwide is evident from the fact that he was chosen to play for the World XI against the West Indies in a charity T20 match played at the Lords. Thus Sandeep Lamichhane became the first ever player to make his international debut by playing for the World XI on 31 May this year. He later played his first ODI for Nepal against the Netherlands on 31 August. In the 2018 ICC World Cup Qualifiers Sandeep did exceedingly well, helping Nepal to easily top their Group. His 24 wickets in six matches were one of the main reasons why Nepal could dismiss the opposition cheaply.
Sandeep is now playing in the first edition of the Afghanistan Premier League for Nangarhar. In less than two years this young cricketer has earned quite a reputation in international cricket. Nepal is as cricket-crazy a nation as any of its more illustrious neighbours. The Nepali fans are hoping that Sandeep Lamichhane’s exploits will take Nepali cricket to greater heights. Nepal is very eager to join the club of Test playing nations.
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