Sandeep Lamichhane, a 17-year-old leg-spinner, created history on Sunday after becoming the first Nepali player to be bought by an Indian Premier League franchise.
Lamichhane was bought at his base price of Rs 20 lakh by the Delhi Daredevils, where he will rub shoulders with the likes of Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem. The Delhi franchise also features marquee players such as Gautam Gambhir and Glenn Maxwell.
According to Indian media Scroll.in, Lamichhane first came into the spotlight at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup, where he helped Nepal reach the quarter-finals. He was the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 14 wickets and a best of 5/27 against Ireland, which included a hat-trick.
His performance at the U19 World Cup earned him an invitation to represent the Sydney-based club Western Suburbs, reported ESPNcricinfo. He also got to train at former Australia captain Michael Clarke’s academy during his stint.
Lamichhane has a website where he has written that he moved from India to Nepal to play cricket, although he did not mention at what age. “The only reason to come to Nepal from India was to play cricket,” he wrote. “I hadn’t played cricket at any level in India. I just played along with friends and practiced as a hobby. However, the thing that I got in Nepal was far better than anything in India. My journey began with my passion for cricket and moreover the zeal to play for Nepal and take Nepalese cricket to a higher level.”
Lamichhane has earned praised from the likes of Clarke, who has been quoted saying, “Sandeep is a fantastic young man who enjoys his cricket and is extremely passionate about the game.”