Sandeep Lamichhane denied US visa for T20 World Cup

Sandeep Lamichhane US Visa Denial

Nepal’s legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane’s prospects for the T20 World Cup 2024 have been severely impacted after he was denied a US visa. ESPNcricinfo had earlier reported his potential inclusion in Nepal’s squad for the T20 World Cup, set to be held in the USA and the West Indies from June 1, following his recent acquittal on rape charges.

Lamichhane expressed his disappointment on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, stating, “And the @USEmbassyNepal did it again what they did back in 2019, they denied my Visa for the T-20 World Cup happening in USA and West Indies. Unfortunate. I am sorry to all the well wishers of Nepal Cricket.”

The deadline for submitting final squads to the ICC is May 25. ESPNcricinfo has reached out to the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) for their response, but no update has been received. Lamichhane had been a standout player in the T20 World Cup Asia Qualifiers, taking nine wickets and helping Nepal secure their tournament spot.

Nepal’s provisional squad is currently training in the Caribbean and will head to the USA soon for warm-up matches against Canada and the USA on May 27 and 30, respectively, in Dallas. Their first main event match is scheduled for June 4 against the Netherlands in Dallas.

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Last week, the Patan High Court in Nepal acquitted Lamichhane of rape due to “a lack of evidence,” which allowed him to resume playing cricket immediately. A CAN spokesperson confirmed his eligibility to play all forms of cricket following the acquittal.

Previously, Lamichhane had been found guilty by a Kathmandu court of raping an 18-year-old woman, resulting in a fine and compensation order. He was initially suspended by CAN in September 2022 after an arrest warrant was issued while he was participating in CPL 2022 with Jamaica Tallawahs.

Upon returning to Nepal in October, Lamichhane was taken into custody but rejoined the national team in February last year amid protests. He continued to play for Nepal, including during the ODI World Cup qualifier and the ODI Asia Cup.

The visa denial poses a significant hurdle for Lamichhane and the Nepal team as they prepare for the T20 World Cup.

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