Nepal hope for Lamichhane US visa as T20 World Cup deadline passes

Nepal are keen to select Lamichhane, who had his eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal this month.
Sandeep Lamichhane.
Sandeep Lamichhane.(File photo | AP)

KATHMANDU, NEPAL: Nepal said Sunday they had not given up hope on including controversial star Sandeep Lamichhane in their T20 World Cup squad, despite the spin bowler being denied a US visa and the deadline for final squads expiring.

The T20 World Cup begins next Saturday, co-hosted by the United States and West Indies, with Nepal's first game on June 4 in Dallas.

"We are lobbying the embassy through the Nepal government", Chatur Bahadur Chand, president of Cricket Association of Nepal, told AFP on Sunday.

Nepal are keen to select Lamichhane, who had his eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal this month.

The International Cricket Council said that all T20 World Cup squads had been named by the May 25 deadline.

Any alteration to Nepal's squad would now require approval from the ICC's event technical committee.

Nepal will play their first two group games in the United States followed by two in the West Indies.

Lamichhane, 23, was once the poster boy for cricket in Nepal, but was not included in the original squad because of the conviction for raping a young woman in a Kathmandu hotel in 2022.

Sandeep Lamichhane.
Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane acquitted of rape charges, available for T20 WC selection

Former captain Lamichhane said late on Wednesday that the US Embassy in Nepal had "denied my visa for the T20 World Cup", calling the decision "unfortunate".

Nepal are making their second appearance in the T20 World Cup and will face the Netherlands in their opening match in Dallas on June 4, followed by group games against South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Before his rape trial, Lamichhane's success as a leg-spinner had dramatically boosted the sport's profile in the Himalayan republic.

In 2022, when an arrest warrant was first issued, Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.

He was dismissed as national captain and arrested, but Nepal lifted his playing ban when he was freed on bail.

It allowed him to keep playing, including at last year's Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, until he was convicted in January.

Sandeep Lamichhane.
Nepal's former cricket team captain Sandeep Lamichhane convicted of raping a minor 

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