In the heart of Nepal, a cricketing prodigy was born. Sandeep Lamichhane, with his right-arm leg-spin wizardry, has taken the cricketing world by storm. His journey from a small town in Nepal to becoming one of the most sought-after T20 franchise cricketers is nothing short of inspiring.
Early Life and Cricketing Aspirations
Born on August 3, 2000, in Aruchaur, Syangja, Gandaki Province, Sandeep Lamichhane’s cricketing journey began with dreams inspired by cricketing legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. He moved to Chitwan district and started training at the Chitwan Cricket Academy, guided by former captain Raju Khadka.
It was during a fortuitous visit by Captain Paras Khadka and Coach Pubudu Dasanayake that Sandeep was spotted bowling in the nets. At just 14 years old, his talent was evident to all. Pubudu Dasanayake’s keen eye recognized Sandeep’s potential, setting the stage for a meteoric rise.
Early Cricketing Success
Sandeep Lamichhane made his List A cricket debut in the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket League Championship in April 2016, facing Namibia. His early cricketing brilliance shone brightly when he took a hat-trick against Ireland under-19s, becoming only the fifth bowler to achieve this feat in under-19 World Cup history.
During the same tournament, he finished as the second-highest wicket-taker with 14 wickets at an average of 17.07 and a strike rate of 21.9. His performances garnered attention not just in Nepal but also internationally.
T20 Franchise Cricket Stardom
Sandeep Lamichhane’s ascent in the world of cricket accelerated when he was recruited by former English-born Hong Kong cricketer Scott McKechnie to play for the Kowloon Cantons franchise in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz’s inaugural edition in 2016. His standout performances led to him sharing the dressing room with World Cup-winning captain Michael Clarke.
In January 2018, he made history by becoming the first Nepalese cricketer to be included in the auction for the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was bought by the Delhi Daredevils, marking a significant moment in his career and strengthening the India-Nepal cricketing bond.
Sandeep’s global T20 journey continued as he joined the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the 2018 Caribbean Premier League, becoming the first Nepalese cricketer to participate in the league. His senior Twenty20 debut for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL in May 2018 further cemented his reputation as a rising star.
Sandeep Lamichhane’s international career is a testament to his skill and determination. He was named in Nepal’s squad for the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament, where he played a crucial role in securing victories with remarkable bowling figures.
In July 2018, he was named in Nepal’s squad for their ODI series against the Netherlands, marking Nepal’s entry into the ODI arena. His performances in these matches earned him recognition as the key player for Nepal by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Sandeep’s dedication to the game and his exceptional bowling abilities earned him the ICC World Cricket League Division Two Player of the Tournament award.
Captaincy and Records
In December 2021, Sandeep Lamichhane was named as the captain of Nepal’s national team, a position he took on with pride and responsibility. He continued to break records, becoming the fastest bowler to reach 100 One Day International wickets in terms of matches in April 2023.
Rape Allegations and Redemption
In a shocking turn of events, allegations of rape were made against Sandeep Lamichhane by a minor in September 2022. Following these allegations, he faced suspension by the Cricket Association of Nepal and was removed as the captain.
However, Sandeep Lamichhane later turned himself in to the Nepal police and was released on bail. He was subsequently reappointed to the Nepal national cricket team, demonstrating resilience and determination to continue his cricketing journey.
Sandeep Lamichhane’s story is one of incredible talent, dedication, and the ability to overcome challenges. As he continues to make his mark on the international cricketing stage, he serves as an inspiration to aspiring cricketers in Nepal and around the world, showing that talent and determination can lead to success, no matter the obstacles faced along the way.