Sandeep Lamichhane bowling in his first IPL match on Saturday.
KATHMANDU, May 13: Nepal’s teenage sensation Sandeep Lamichhane was handed his first cap by Delhi Daredevils in their twelfth match of ongoing Indian Premier League 2018 in their home-ground Feroz Shah Kotla against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Lamichhane received the IPL debut cap by Daredevils coach and Australian legend Ricky Ponting.
The 17-year leg-spinner’s bowling heroics in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier helped Nepal gain ODI status for the first time early in March. He was bought by Daredevils in the fresh IPL auctions in January. Lamichhane was auctioned for IRS 2 million by Daredevils during the auction. Chief Executive Officer of Delhi Daredevils Hemant Dua handed him number 1 jersey in an official program in Kathmandu in March in the presence of Nepal Sports Council Member Secretary Keshav Kumar Bista.
Daredevils is in the bottom of the IPL table with eight losses in eleven matches played so far. The chances to reach playoffs for the Delhi’s IPL side are virtually over. Lamichhane will make his debut alongside South African pace bowler Junior Dala who is also playing his first game for Delhi Daredevils after replacing Chris Morris due to an injury as well as India’s U-19 World Cup winning player Abhishek Sharma is lined for the debut too. Lamichhane's talent was first noticed by former Nepal national cricket coach Pubudu Dassanayake, who spotted him at a training camp in 2015 when he was learning his craft in Raju Khadka’s cricket academy in Chitwan.
The spin-bowling sensation then attracted the attention of Australian great Michael Clarke, when he played alongside the former captain in a Hong Kong Twenty20 Blitz Tournament in 2016. Later, he was invited by Clarke to train at his cricket academy in Sydney, an experience the teenager described as unforgettable. A good run of form followed in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two subsequently followed by another string of consistent performances in ICC World Cup Qualifiers helping Nepal acquire ODI status for the first time in its history.