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T20 Blast 2021

Sandeep Lamichhane blasts government over visa issues that forced him out of Worcestershire stint

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Sandeep Lamichhane was signed by the Worcestershire Rapids for the 2021 T20 Blast, but has now been replaced by New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi because the Nepal twirler could not get his UK visa in time.

The leg-spinner, who is a favourite in franchise leagues around the world, couldn’t get his UK visa in time for the Vitality Blast that starts on June 9. Lamichhane was signed by the county in March, but his work application was delayed for too long for him to be available from the start of the tournament.

According to a tweet from the player in late May, he had sent in the application for the UK visa by April, but there had been no response from the officials.

When naming Sodhi as his replacement, the Worcestershire chairman, Paul Pridgeon said: “Because of passport and visa issues Sandeep was already going to miss at least the first four games and probably more.”

That said, according to a report on ESPNCricinfo, Lamichhane has now been granted his visa, and it could facilitate his participation in The Hundred where he is contracted to play for the Oval Invincibles.

However, the player wasn’t too pleased with his Blast deal being affected and in a Facebook live on Saturday, blasted the officials for the snag.

“I’m not really happy with the situation going around,” Lamichhane had said while going on to state that the government does not appreciate talented athletes like him.

Lamichhane’s signing came on the back of a change in the ECB’s policies. Before, a player had to have played for an ICC Full Member in at least one Test match or 15 ODIs and T20Is in the last two years to be eligible for a governing body endorsement. This was tweaked to allow T20 freelancers a chance to represent county teams.

According to the present criteria, a player needs to have played at least 20 T20 matches in any Full Member country/countries in the past three years to be eligible. This change allowed Lamichhane, a regular in several T20 leagues, to be picked up by the counties. However, he will have to wait to make his Blast debut after the latest quandary.

Last year, Lamichhane faced visa issues when seeking to play in the Caribbean Premier League, but then a strong public campaign pushed his application through and he could finally play the tournament.

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