23 May 2019: Nepalese legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane is set to make $65,000 more than what he earned during 2018 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
The 18-year-old had played for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots last year whereas this year the fast-rising cricket star has been picked up by Barbados Tridents for an impressive $70,000 which basically constitutes a 1300% pay rise for the teenager from the Himalayan foothills.
Raman Siwakoti, manager of Nepal’s national cricket team, says nothing but his track record at various tournaments he played since last year that made it all possible. “Of course it is his performance. Why would otherwise they pick him and pay a big sum like that if he hadn’t performed well?” Mr Siwakoti said in a brief telephone conversation with southasia.com.au.
Mr Lamichhane was only 17 when he played CPL 2018 for just $5,000 – a modest sum no doubt but what he was chasing at the time was exposure to international cricket rather than mere dollar amounts.
At just 18 years of age, the former Melbourne Stars import has already been in action at most of the better-known tournaments where he played alongside the best in the cricket business – Indian Premier League (IPL), Hong Kong T20 Blitz, Global T20 Canada, Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Big Bash League (BBL), T10 League, Afghanistan Premier League and the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The Hero Caribbean Premier League’s 2019 player draft took place yesterday at the Gfinity eSports Arena in London. A total of 536 foreign players were included in the auction.
Sandeep Lamichhane was picked up by Barbados in the 5th round.
The Caribbean Premier League 2019 will kick off in the West Indies on 8 August finishing on 16 September. Last year, Trinbago Knight Riders and Guyana Amazon Warriors had clashed in the final game with the former winning by 8 wickets.
Sandy is currently on a private visit to Australia, a country that has given him so much. He clearly feels at home in the country where he commands a massive fanfare both among his Nepalese expatriates and local cricket followers.
Despite his young age, Mr Lamichhane has set quite a few records by virtue of being from a country which is relatively a fresh name in the cricketing world.
He was the first Nepalese cricketer to have played in the Indian Premier League tournament. He was also the first Nepalese cricket player to play in the Big Bash League in Australia as well as in the Caribbean Premier League.
Mr Lamichhane’s love affair with Australia started in 2016 when he had an opportunity to play grade cricket in New South Wales courtesy of Michael Clarke. The former Australian captain was impressed by the teenager’s super performance during the Hong Kong T20 Blitz in May that year. The Nepalese player owes a lot to Mr Clarke in how he eventually got an opportunity to play in the BBL tournament which obviously was a dream come true for him.
“Sandeep is a fantastic young man who enjoys his cricket and is extremely passionate about the game,” Mr Clarke was quoted as saying in a 2016 press statement released by the Western Suburbs.
“It is a really exciting opportunity to have such a talented Nepalese cricketer travel this distance to come and test his skills and improve his game at my academy. I am looking forward to working with him and all the boys and girls that will attend the 5-day live in camp starting September 26th,” Mr Clarke further added in the statement, clearly showing his fondness for the “little brother”.
A 2016 Sydney Morning Herald news article shows how Michael Clarke’s intervention played a pivotal role in shaping Sandeep Lamichhane’s ongoing journey in the world of cricket. As someone who came from a not-so-privileged cricketing background, the then 16-year-old was lucky to have impressed the kind-hearted Australian cricketer. Mr Clarke ensured that he got on a plane to play for the Western Suburbs: “Michael contacted the club probably about six weeks ago and said, ‘this kid is very, very good and we’d love to get him out to Australia‘. It’s a big ask for a 16-year-old to come straight into a very strong club competition and perform, but Michael’s playing the first three games for Wests and no doubt he will take him under his wing and look after him.”