Lamichhane, a trustworthy leg-spinner

Kathmandu, July 20

Sandeep Lamichhane is a star in the making out of nowhere. He caught the eyes of the then national cricket team coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who had made a brief stop in Chitawan while returning to Kathmandu after finishing his district trips. Dassanayake called him to Kathmandu for trial and there was no looking back for Lamichhane.

He was selected in the youth squad in his first attempt and he showcased his talent in the ICC U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh. The 15-year-old leg spinner stunned the cricketing world when he took a hat-trick on his way to completing the five-wicket haul against Ireland in the league round match. Lamichhane became the fifth player to take a hat-trick in the history of U-19 World Cup.

Nepal made impressive run in Bangladesh where Nepal reached the knock out stage for the first time. Lamichhane played a pivotal role in the team’s march to the quarter-finals as he took 14 wickets in six matches to become the second highest wicket taker of the tournament.

Lamichhane, who has the ability to bowl with variations, was impressive in the matches against New Zealand, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. International media even compared Lamichhane’s bowling with Australian legend Shane Warne.

At a time when coach Dassanayake was in dire need of a leg-spinner, Lamichhane perfectly filled the void left by Raj Kumar Pradhan. He got opportunities from national team and also earned international exposure. Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke has invited him to train at his academy after the youngster shared the dressing room with the legendary player in Hong Kong Blitz Twenty20 Tournament.

He also played against Marylebone Cricket Club in a friendly match as Nepal marked the maiden Lord’s appearance with a 41-run victory on Tuesday.

He is yet to be tested in upper level but the achievements he got last year has earned him the nomination in the People’s Choice Award under the Pulsar Sports Award 2072. Nabita Shrestha of table tennis, Tara Devi Pun of weightlifting, Pratibha Mali of volleyball and Nawayug Shrestha of football are also in the race of winning the prestigious award, which is decided by the SMS votes and Facebook Likes.

Meanwhile, Nepal Sports Journalists Forum said the preparations for the Award ceremony was over. “We are done with the preparations and invite the whole sports fraternity to join us in our efforts of honouring the heroes of the country,” said Secretary Raju Tamang in a release.

The Award, which is slated for Thursday at the Nepal Academy Hall, features eight categories in Male, Female, Youth, Coach, People’s Choice, Para-athlete, Special and Lifetime Achievement.