Sandeep Lamichhane: The wonder kid from Nepal
IPL 2018 made headlines in Nepal when the then 17-year-old Sandeep Lamichhane was picked up by Delhi Daredevils in the auction at INR 20 Lakhs. It was a huge moment for a country like Nepal to see one of their players competing in the biggest franchise tournament of the world.
The story of this young prodigy has been a fairytale affair in the cricket world. Coming from a country like Nepal, where cricket is still getting its footholds, Sandeep made rapid strides through to get his name etched in every cricket mind in the world.
He starred in the 2016 U-19 Cricket World Cup and in the second match against the Ireland U-19 team in the tournament he took a hat-trick and became only the fifth bowler overall to take a hat-trick in Under-19 Cricket World Cup. He finished the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker and earned him a call from former Aussie captain Michael Clarke who invited him to play for the Sydney based Western Suburbs District Cricket Club.
Lamichhane also impressed everyone with his stint in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz and hence received a call from IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils for a trial and later on went to become the first Nepali player to play in IPL. He soon became a regular feature in the franchise cricket globally. He featured in the Carribean Premier League 2018 for St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, the Montreal Tigers in the inaugural edition of Global T20 Canada and also for the Nangarhar Leopards in the first edition of Afghanistan Premier League.
In May 2018, he was added to the ICC Rest of the World XI team for a T20 International match against the Windies at Lord's. It included some great players of the cricketing arena such as Shahid Afridi, Eoin Morgan, Rashid Khan, etc. It was a great experience for the young kid to train and share the dressing room with the stalwarts of the game. It made people take notice of the Nepal cricket and follow the emerging talent of the country.
Lamichhane was also one of the 11 players to represent Nepal in their first ever ODI game against the Netherlands after getting the ODI status. His consistent performances garnered him a special place in the team and praises from everyone including the captain himself, Paras Khadka.
Lamichhane is currently representing Nepal in the Asia B World T20 Qualifiers. He has been performing exceptionally well for his side with the figures of 4/3 against Myanmar, 5/20 against Malaysia and 5/8 against Thailand. His performances coupled with the team's effort means that Nepal is heading towards a place in the T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.
Lamichhane has been a shining star for Nepal cricket. His humbleness and willingness to learn promises him a great future ahead. For a small country like Nepal, Lamichhane has made the world take notice of him and Nepal cricket. If the team is backed well and can produce good performances from every player, the cricketing world can have a new rising team just like Afghanistan.