KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Teenage cricket sensation Sandeep Lamichhane has received an invitation from former Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke on Tuesday to play in Sydney, Australia.
Sandeep, a Nepali international leg spinner, will play in the Sydney Grade Cricket alongside Michael Clark for the former Aussie captain's home team, Western Suburbs, in the 2016/17 season and also train at the Michael Clarke Cricket Academy.
Grade cricket in Australia is district level cricket competition, which is first step for players to earn call up from state level teams and the national team.
Issuing a statement on Tuesday, Western Suburbs District Cricket Club informed that 16-year-old Sandeep will play for it and attend training in the former Australian captain's academy. Clarke, in association with Hublot, a watch making company has sponsored Sandeep to attend the training in Sydney.
"Sandeep is a fantastic young man who enjoys his cricket and is extremely passionate about the game. It is a really exciting opportunity to have such a talented Nepalese cricketer travel this distance to come and test his skills and improve his game at my academy. I am looking forward to working with him and all the boys and girls that will attend the 5-day live in camp starting September 26," Clarke has been quoted as saying in the statement of Western Suburbs.
"Sandeep will fit in well at my club, Wests have always gone out of their way to look after the younger players, and he will be a great asset to the club this summer," Clarke was further quoted.
Sandip who had played with Clarke in Hong Kong Blitz Twenty20 tournament on last May expressed his happiness over the invitation. "I am very happy over this opportunity to play and train with Clarke," said Sandeep.
Sandeep came into limelight after he pocketed five wickets, including a historic hat-trick, against Ireland in the group stage of ICC U-19 World Cup held in Bangladesh last year.
Sandeep had received a message from Clark in the Whatsapp nearly two weeks after he returned Nepal from Hong Kong, where Clark had praised his performances. In the message former Aussie captain, he had assured Sandeep that he would try to call the teenage cricketer to Australia in near future.
"Clarke had told me that he would love to call me to Australia and train me at his academy to nurture my skills. He also told me that Australia visit will be helpful to shape my career better," said Sandeep.
"Two weeks ago I was informed about my Australia visit," added Sandeep. He will play five months in Sydney Grade Cricket with Western Suburbs and train at Clarke's academy.
Sandeep is keen to give good performances and impress Clarke, which could pave the way for other opportunities. "I will try my best to impress Clarke as that will help me earn other opportunities in Australia," said Sandeep.
Clarke has hoped that Sandeep will settle down quickly in Western Suburbs as there is a strong presence of Nepali community. "We have a strong Nepali community in the Western Suburbs area, which will assist Sandeep to settle in Sydney, to live with a local family, and to prepare for the upcoming season," Clark has said in the statement.
Sandeep will fly to Australia on 18th September.
Clarke and Sandeep will reunite on the cricket field in the first match of the season when West plays Mosman on September 24 in Sydney.