Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane to miss T20 World Cup after US visa denied

Spin bowler has 'slim or no chance' of being selected despite intense lobbying by Cricket Association of Nepal

Sandeep Lamichhane had his eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal. AFP
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Sandeep Lamichhane has been denied a visa to enter the United States, with the Cricket Association of Nepal conceding there was a “slim or no chance” he would play at the T20 World Cup.

The World Cup begins on Saturday when co-hosts USA take on Canada in Texas. The tournament will also be held in the Caribbean.

Nepal's first game is against the Netherlands on June 4 in Dallas and the country had hoped to include spin bowler Lamichhane in their plans after he had his eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal.

The former Nepal captain said last week his US visa had been denied, calling the decision “unfortunate”.

Chhumbi Lama, central committee member of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), said their subsequent bid to push for a US visa had failed.

“There is a slim – or no chance – for him to be involved in the World Cup,” Lama told AFP.

“The Cricket Association of Nepal had lobbied to the US embassy through different Nepal government agencies, but the visa was denied.”

“The US Embassy in Kathmandu and other US consular posts around the world have made a concerted effort to ensure that members of national cricket teams who qualify for the appropriate visa class are able to travel in time to compete in the World Cup,” a spokesperson of the US Embassy in Kathmandu said last week, according to Kathmandu Post.

“We cannot comment on individual visa cases as visa records are confidential under US law.”

Lamichhane, 23, was once the poster boy of Nepal cricket, but was not included in the original squad because of the conviction for raping a young woman in a Kathmandu hotel in October 2022.

He was immediately suspended by CAN. After a trial in January 2024, he was found guilty only to be acquitted on appeal by the Patan High Court in May, because of “a lack of evidence”. CAN allowed him to resume playing cricket with immediate effect.

The International Cricket Council said that all T20 World Cup squads had been named by the May 25 deadline.

Any alteration to Nepal's squad would now require approval from the ICC's event technical committee.

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Updated: May 31, 2024, 8:28 AM