ECB ousts Nepali cricketer from The Hundred, orders to leave the UK asap


After losing the chance to play in The Hundred, star Nepali legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane has asked the England and Wales Cricket Board to clarify the reasons behind his expulsion from the 100-ball cricket tournament slated for July 21 to August 21.

Lamichhane was sent home by the ECB saying his visa was not valid but would not elaborate. "I am extremely gutted for missing out on The Hundred. I was so looking forward to play for my team Oval Invincibles and followed all the instructions given to me by the ECB officials,"

Lamichhane wrote of his Facebook page.

The globe-trotting Lamichhane had applied for Tier-5 visa after acquiring the certificate of sponsorship from Vitality Blast and he was told that would be enough for him for both the tournaments - Vitality Blast for Worcestershire and The Hundred for Oval Invincibles. Due to the delay in visa processing because of the COVID-19, Lamichhane missed the Vitality Blast.

"Due to COVID-19 situation, there was a delay in my visa and Worcestershire pulled out but it was again communicated to me by officials that as long as I come into the UK before July 10, it would be okay as my COS was still active,"

Lamichhane added. "I came to the UK on July 9, (and I) had no issues whatsoever at the immigration and moved into the government-managed quarantine facility to complete my (10-day) quarantine."

"On July 18, two days before the completion of my quarantine, I was told by the ECB that my visa is not valid and I have to leave the country ASAP," he added. "I have been asking (them) what went wrong but apparently no one at the ECB has the correct answer. I can totally understand that things can go south anytime, however I at least (I) deserve a clear answer on why my valid visa is not valid anymore."

Lamichhane's manager, Raman Shiwakoti said they had no option to leave the UK and that the cricketer would reach Nepal on Thursday. Lamichhane, who first featured in the Indian Premier League in 2018 when Delhi Daredevils bought him in the auction, has played in almost all the Twenty20 franchise tournaments across the globe.

Shiwakoti said the ECB gave them little time to react as the last day of Lamichhane's stay in the UK was Tuesday following the cancellation of the visa. "There must be some misunderstanding as we applied for the Tier-5 visa as suggested by the organisers and they asked Lamichhane to enter the UK before July 10," he added. "The ECB is not giving anything in writing and it's too late for us to apply for new visa to take part in the event," he added.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 21 2021, of The Himalayan Times.