KATHMANDU, July 21: Sandeep Lamichhane shot to fame all of a sudden last year. Former national coach, Pubudu Dassanayake, spotted the 16-year old while he was playing cricket at his hometown in Chitwan.
Dassanayake was impressed with his bowling style and called him to Kathmandu to train with the national team.
Pubudu's faith on the teenager paid off. He not only secured a place in the U-19 national team in his very first attempt, but also emerged as new star.
Sandeep pocketed five wickets, including a historic hat-trick, against Ireland in the group stage of ICC U-19 World Cup held in Bangladesh. He was the lone hat-trick taker in the tournament and became an overall fifth player to achieve the feat in the age group tournament.
Sandip played a key role in the youth team's quarterfinal entry in the U-19 World Cup finals. He claimed 14 wickets from six matches of the tournament and became the second highest wicket taker in the tournament.
For his feat in his debut international tournament, Sandeep has been nominated for the peoples' choice award in the Pulsar Sports Award to be held on Thursday. Sandeep will compete along with footballer Nawayug Shrestha, weightlifter Tara Devi Pun, table tennis player Nabita Shrestha and volleyball player Pratibha Mali.
The winner of the award is to be decided on the basis of SMS votes and Facebook likes. The winner will get a Pulsar motorbike.
Sandeep came up with superb performances against giants like New Zealand, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. He was even compared with Australian legend Shane Warne by international media for his bowling variations.
He debuted for the national team during the ICC World Cricket League against Namibia at home a couple of months earlier and was also part of the Nepali team that played against Marylebone Cricket Club on Tuesday.
The 13th edition of the annual Sports Award being organized by Nepal Sports Journalists Forum rewards sportspersons in various eight categories.
The winners of the people's choice award, male and female players of the year will receive a Pulsar motorbike each. The winners of the remaining five categories--youth, coach, special, para and lifetime achievement award will get Rs 50,000 each.