WORLD T20: Lamichhane arrive in St. Vincent for Nepal group games


Not long after he was denied a US visa, Sandeep Lamichhane has landed in the West Indies to play Nepal’s last two league games in Kingstown, St. Vincent. The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) told ESPNcricinfo on Monday that the board had requested the ICC to allow Lamichhane as a late addition to their World Cup squad, which the governing body has approved, and he does not require a visa for St. Vincent.

Lamichhane was not part of the original 15-man squad, which was also listed on the ICC website, announced last month and couldn’t fly with the contingent to the USA because he couldn’t get a US visa for that leg.

Statement posted on X by Sandeep Lamichhane

All boards were allowed to make changes to their T20 World Cup 2024 squads by May 25, but when Lamichhane didn’t get a US visa even on second attempt, and Nepal were to play their first two games in the USA, CAN had said on May 30 that Lamichhane was going to miss the tournament.

But CAN president Chatur Bahadur Chand told ESPNcricinfo on Monday that the board had originally submitted 14 names on May 24 to the ICC to allow for Lamichhane’s late addition. An ICC spokesperson also confirmed the allowance was given to Nepal since they had originally submitted only 14 names.

Lamichhane, however, landed in the West Indies on June 9, local time, and tweeted that he was going to join the Nepal national team “for the last two matches,” which they are to play against South Africa on June 14 and Bangladesh on June 16.

Barely a couple of hours before that, CAN also issued a statement on their social media saying Lamichhane will join the squad. Currently the Nepal squad is in Lauderhill, USA, for their second Group D match against Sri Lanka on June 11, after they lost their tournament opener to Netherlands in Dallas.

“We, along with Nepal government, had tried hard to secure a US visa for Lamichhane but that didn’t work out,” Chand said.

“We had already requested the ICC to give an allowance for him to be added to the World Cup squad even as a late entry. The ICC has now allowed Lamichhane to be added for the last two matches.”

Lamichhane’s applications for the US visa were denied twice last month despite interventions from the Nepal government.

The most high-profile cricketer from Nepal, Lamichhane had been arrested in October 2022 with accusations of raping an 18-year-old woman. He was immediately suspended by CAN at the time.

After a trial in January 2024, he was found guilty only to be acquitted on appeal by the Patan High Court in May, because of “a lack of evidence”. CAN allowed him to resume playing cricket with immediate effect and was harbouring hopes of sending him to the USA and the Caribbean for the T20 World Cup until his US visa was denied. (ESPNcricinfo)


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