Nepal cricketer on rape charge takes wickets in Dubai | Cricket News – Times of India
DUBAI: Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane took three wickets and scored 26 runs in Dubai on Thursday after being cleared to fly out for an international tournament despite facing a rape charge at home.
Lamichhane, a star in Nepal after playing in foreign tournaments including the lucrative Indian Premier League, was his country’s top wicket-taker and second-highest run-scorer in the World Cup League 2 defeat by the United Arab Emirates.
The 22-year-old spin bowler was added to the squad for the tri-series, also featuring Papua New Guinea, after the Supreme Court lifted his travel ban on Monday and upheld his bail.
Lamichhane is charged with raping a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel room in August, an accusation that prompted Nepal’s cricket association to strip him of the captaincy and issue a temporary ban.
“He definitely is a world-class bowler, he showed his class today,” home captain Chundangapoyil Rizwan told AFP after the UAE’s 68-run victory at Dubai International Stadium.
“I was just telling him, now you can be an all-rounder. So yeah, he played well in the end.”
About 200 Nepalese fans in the otherwise empty venue cheered loudly as Lamichhane hit four fours in a defiant last-wicket stand of 32 before Nepal, chasing 208 to win, were 139 all out.
When authorities issued an arrest warrant in September Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.
He was arrested after flying back in October but was freed in January on conditional bail that restricted him from travelling abroad.
Nepal’s cricket board rescinded his ban two weeks ago, and he was welcomed by cheering crowds for tri-series matches against Scotland and Namibia in Kathmandu.
Although the International Cricket Council did not comment on Lamichhane’s selection, Scotland’s cricketers refused to shake hands with him after their matches.
The spinner had been a poster boy for the rise of cricket in mountainous Nepal, which gained one-day international status in 2018.
His big break came when he was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals for the money-spinning IPL in 2018, and he has since been Nepal’s most sought-after cricketer.