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News

Sandeep Lamichhane joins Nepal in UAE as an injury replacement

The player had to get court approval to be able to fly abroad given he is out on bail in a case concerning alleged sexual coercion

Sandeep Lamichchane looks on, Nepal vs Namibia, World Cup League 2, Kathmandu, February 14, 2023

Sandeep Lamichhane is currently Nepal's leading wicket-taker in CWC League 2  •  Getty Images

Sandeep Lamichhane has flown out to join Nepal for their remaining games in the Cricket World Cup (CWC) League 2 series in Dubai. Lamichhane was called up as a replacement for Mousom Dhakal, who picked up an injury in the nets, and played in the game against UAE on Thursday.*
Nepal are playing Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the hosts UAE in this leg of the series and have been trying to find ways to bring Lamichhane in. Lamichhane is facing charges of sexual coercion of another person and is currently out of jail on bail. The conditions of his bail did not allow him to travel out of Nepal, but Lamichhane approached Nepal's Supreme Court and was given permission to travel earlier this week. At that stage, it only remained for the ICC to approve his inclusion in the squad.
The injury to Dhakal would seem to have paved the way. "Sandeep Lamichhane will be travelling to the UAE to join Team Nepal as a replacement for injured Shyam (Mousom) Dhakal, who was injured during net practice. Mousom suffered a shoulder injury while batting in the net practice session on February 28, 2023," the Cricket Association Nepal (CAN) tweeted on Wednesday. Nepal play back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday against UAE and then PNG.
Nepal won the only game they have played so far in Dubai - without Lamichhane - beating PNG by four wickets. With Lamichhane in the side, Nepal had emerged victorious in a CWC tri-series in Nepal last week. Lamichhane was instrumental in Nepal going through that series unbeaten, taking 13 wickets in four games, all of which Nepal won against Namibia and Scotland. That was his first participation in competitive cricket after he was arrested last October on the sexual coercion charges.
His participation in that series did not come without objection. Both opposition teams refused to shake Lamichhane's hand after their initial games and their boards also issued statements ahead of the series condemning gender-based violence.
Nepal are placed sixth in the seven-team CWC League 2. Lamichhane has picked up 55 wickets in the competition - the most for Nepal - and is third in the list of wicket-takers. The three teams are due to return to Nepal after the UAE leg.
*The story was updated after Nepal's playing XI against UAE was announced.