EDITORIAL: Sandeep’s odyssey

The opportunity to play at the Lord’s, the mecca of cricket, will certainly be a real shot in the arm for this Nepali leggie

Seventeen-year-old Sandeep Lamichhane has added one more feather in his cricketing cap after being selected in the ICC World XI. It undoubtedly gives immense inspiration to all cricket-loving Nepalis, who were yearning for an iconic figure who can make them proud. Nepali cricket team earned the ODI status only recently and is yet to play any international game. But Sandeep has made quite an achievement by making it to the ICC World XI. He will be playing a T20I match against the West Indies at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on May 31. After being roped in by Delhi Daredevils for which he recently played against Royal Challengers Bangalore in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), his inclusion in the ICC World XI is simply a matter of great delight for all the Nepalis. This opportunity to play at Lord’s, the mecca of cricket, which is every cricketer’s dream ground, will certainly provide a shot in this legggie’s arm. Then Nepali coach Pubudu Dassanayake was hugely impressed by Sandeep’s bowling skills when he was just 14. At the IPL, Sandeep, whom Australian legend Michael Clarke had taken under his wing, got an opportunity to bowl against the world’s best batsmen like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. His 1-25 in four overs had earned him quite an accolade.

According to a press release issued by the ICC on Wednesday, the match will be played to raise funds to redevelop stadiums in the Caribbean which were damaged due to hurricanes last year. Lamichhane is in the squad along with England’s Eoin Morgan (captain), Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, India’s Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya, New Zealand’s Mitchell McClenaghan and Luke Ronchi, Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera. The West Indies squad has Samuel Badree, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels and Andre Russell, among others. Born at Aruchaur Talpokhari, Syangja, Lamichhane lived with his father Chandra Narayan Lamichhane in India, where he studied there until up to Grade IV. He then went to Chitwan Cricket Academy where former national team skipper Raju Khadka identified his talent and groomed him. Lamichhane made it to the ICC U-19 World Cup squad in 2016 and came into limelight when he bagged five wickets, including a hat-trick against Ireland. He also got an opportunity to train at Michael Clarke Academy run by the former Australian skipper.

After being selected to the ICC World XI against the West Indies, Lamichhane said he was privileged to be part of the ICC World XI. He also said it was an indicator that Nepali youths were also making a mark on the international game. In this backdrop, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) which is embroiled in controversy should also learn a lesson from a budding talent like Lamichhane. If CAN, which remains suspended by the ICC since 2016 for mismanagement and government interference, mends its ways, it can hunt more promising cricket talents from across the country. Such talents can only be found when local tournaments are held regularly. Whatever performances Nepali cricket players have displayed so far are not because of CAN efforts, but because of their individual initiatives.

Out in the cold

Government’s failure to implement the People’s Residence Programme (PRP) has left as many as 48 families in Chhinnamasta village of Chhinnamasta Rural Municipality in Saptari district without roofs over their heads. The government had approved construction of 800 houses for the impoverished and Dalit families in Bishahariya, Kanchanpur, Maleth, Bodebarsain, Lalapatti and Chhinnamasta of the district within this fiscal year. While the current fiscal is drawing to a close, monsoon is just round the corner.

The villagers who had demolished their houses hoping that new ones would be built under the PRP are now a worried lot, for they will have to endure the monsoon rains under flimsy tents. According to an official at the division office of the Urban Development and Building Construction, construction could not start due to “lack of fund” and so far only the survey part has been completed. The residents of the villages where houses are to be built under the PRP are mostly poor and Dalits. Such delay in construction is nothing but absolute apathy on the part of the state towards the poor. Authorities cannot leave poor high and dry on the pretext of “lack of fund”.