Nepal's youth sensation Sandeep Lamichhane has grabbed global attention in cricket following his selection in IPL. In an interview with ICC, the 17-year-old leg-spinner, who has shot to fame in recent months, is confident that Nepal’s hard work will pay off in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. Here we present the ICC's story on Nepal's bowler Sandeep Lamichhane.
Player of the Tournament at the ICC World Cricket League Division Two with 17 wickets. The first player from Nepal to be signed up by a franchise in the Indian Premier League. A call from the Prime Minister of his country. Praise from Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting. Sandeep Lamichhane, the 17-year-old spin sensation from Nepal, has gone from being a relatively unknown entity to grabbing global attention.
Apart from his exploits with the ball in the WCL Divison Two, Lamichhane's last-wicket stand of 51 runs with Karan KC while chasing 195 against Canada is also a huge reason why Nepal find themselves at the 2018 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier for the first time.
Despite his success in recent months, Lamichhane, whose leg-spinners have got everyone talking, isn’t letting the attention get to him.
"I don’t run for the name and fame," Lamichhane said in an exclusive chat. "Everywhere, be it in Nepal or outside, I just remind myself of the hard work that I have put in over the last few years.
“I just want to keep myself simple and calm. I have worked hard for these moments, and I have a long way to go. I am just taking it as an opportunity to make my country proud.”
For Nepal, who were playing Division Five as recently as 2010, their rise to cricket's higher echelons has been staggering. They, however, know that to qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, they have will have to be at their best throughout the Qualifier, and given the stiff competition even that might not be enough.
"Back home everyone is praying for our success," said Lamichhane. "We know it is very tough to make the World Cup, because only two teams will make it.
"We are just pushing ourselves and working hard day-by-day and just trying to get in good shape. It is our dream to play the Cricket World Cup and hopefully we will make it.”
He took confidence from the hard work the team had put in.
“To get a chance to play in the World Cup Qualifier is huge," he said. "We have worked hard for this, have put in a lot of effort back home. Not just me, everyone is confident. We beat UAE in the warm-ups earlier, and this will give a boost to all the players.”
Placed in Group B, Nepal will come up against teams such as Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in the group stage.
"First of all, we would be looking to get a good game," said Lamichhane. "Our first aim is to get ODI status and be in the top six. After that, every team is here to qualify for the World Cup – and we are too.”
Nepal start their campaign against hosts Zimbabwe on 4 March at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.