Nepal vs Netherlands: Spin or no spin, I am all in, says leggie Sandeep Lamichhane



On an unusually humid morning in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, the senior national side is set to kickstart its day.

They first play a game of catch, and then do some stretching.

Among the players is one lad who stands out from the rest. We first spotted him playing catch with the team members, and then warming up for the day.

“Come on Sandy,” his seniors, including captain Paras Khadka, cheer him up.

Sandeep Lamichhane is one of the youngest to be selected for the national side.

The leg spinner from Chitwan started playing cricket at the age of eight. In the beginning, he played for his school, then started training at Chitwan Cricket Academy under former national squad skipper Raju Khadka.

Sandeep, who used to watch Shane Warne bowl his vicious leg breaks, thought that some day he would bowl like the Aussie legend. While training in Chitwan, Nepal’s then coach Pubudu Dassanayke spotted his talent, and said, “This kid will go places.”

His life-changing moment came when he got a call-up for the U-19 World Cup squad. The match against Ireland, Sandeep says, will be etched in his memory forever. He completed a hat-trick against the European side.

When Nepal ended their WC campaign following a defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, Sandeep was among the top wicket-takers of the entire tournament, the ICC’s official website even compared him to the Aussie leg spinner!

Sandeep’s recent performance

During the recent Nepal vs Namibia two-match series, Sandeep, backed by the home crowd, put on a debut performance to remember. Although he claimed 1-2 wickets, he put a lid on the opposing team’s run rate. He spun the ball, and the Namibians had no answer to his leg breaks, let alone the googlies.

But as Nepal’s national squad prepare to play the English side Marylebone Cricket Club at the MCC on July 19, and the Netherlands on their home turf on August 13 and 15, things look tough, the teenager agrees.

European pitches are known to be fast, and spinners don’t get a lot of purchase out of the pitch. But if the legendary leggie from down under could show his wizardry on any turf, so can Sandeep, his team mates believe.

“I don’t really know how the pitch will behave. But spin or no spin, I will stick to line and length, and give my best,” he says.

After a few minutes with us, Sandeep is off to the changing room. He comes out with a ball in his hand. It’s his turn to bowl.


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