By Ram Khatry, Sydney
17 September 2016
Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, whom Michael Clarke pampers by calling him his “Little Brother”, says his travel bags are all packed up and that he cannot wait to leave Kathmandu tomorrow. He is arriving in Sydney on Monday to play alongside Mr Clarke for his beloved boyhood club Western Suburbs.
Speaking to southasia.com.au over telephone, the sixteen year old said he expected lot of support from the Nepalese diaspora in Sydney as he plays competitive cricket with the former Australia captain. Mr Clarke and Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot are sponsoring Mr Lamichhane to first train at the Michael Clarke Cricket Academy and then play in the 2016-17 summer season.
“I am very excited,” he said, needless to say, with a lot of excitement, adding he has been in touch with the cricketing legend on a daily basis. When asked how comfortable he feels talking to a towering sporting icon like Michael Clarke (specially given the fact that he is still a very young man), the Nepalese star repeated one word that made up the question of this scribe, “Easy!”
His bonhomie with Mr Clarke was perhaps the reason why the Australian cricketer took personal interest in the development of the young man’s talent which he spotted when the two played cricket during Hong Kong T20 Blitz in May.
The teenage cricketer said he is not yet aware where he will be staying during his Sydney stint although he knows that Mr Clarke’s team is organising for him to stay with the Nepalese community in Sydney’s west where many Australians of Nepalese origin live.
It appears Mr Lamichhane is not just another teenager because he appears to be pretty hardwired into his game, without the typical boyhood distractions. He told southasia.com.au that he did not have much plans apart from improving his cricketing skills during his stay in Sydney.
Nonetheless, he did admit that he expected some partying with Mr Clarke on the sidelines. Fair enough!
But once on the ground, Sandeep Lamichhane wants to expose himself to Australian cricket as much as possible because all he wants out of his Sydney stay is ”experience” – nothing but experience, he said. He wants to gather lot of experience and learn, he said during a ten minute long telephone chat on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Lamichhane was the second highest wicket-taker at the Under 19 World Cup this year where he scored a hat-trick against Ireland.
The Under 19 champion says his sponsorship by Michael Clarke to train at his academy and play with the Western Suburbs is “the biggest gift” the Australian legend has given not only to him but also to his country, Nepal. He would be playing for the premier grade cricket club from September 24. It is noteworthy that Mr Clarke has not played the game since the Hong Kong T20 Blitz in May where he met young Lamichhane.