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Sandeep Lamichhane faces jail: A timeline of his arrest and subsequent conviction for rape

Sandeep Lamichhane, Kathmandu, 2023
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Former Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane, the biggest name in the history of the national cricket team, has been found guilty of rape.

Sandeep Lamichhane, comfortably Nepal’s most successful cricketing export, was initially arrested last year but continued representing his country in international cricket in the meantime. In fact, Lamichhane was even playing domestic cricket on the day of his conviction (December 29).

The leg-spinner now faces a hearing that will determine the length of his sentence.


Who is Sandeep Lamichhane?

Lamichhane is a 23-year-old leg-spinner who has represented Nepal 103 times in international cricket, including 29 appearances after his initial arrest in October 2022. Spotted almost accidentally by Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake in a camp, Lamichhane was only 15 when he completed a hat-trick at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. He found an enthusiastic supporter in Michael Clarke, who invited him to play grade cricket in Australia.

Lamichhane’s 112 ODI wickets (at 18.06, economy 4.37) and 98 T20I wickets (at 12.58, economy 6.29) are the most for Nepal by some distance, and he has led them 32 times across the two formats, all in 2022. He has also featured in overseas T20 leagues such as the IPL, PSL, BBL and CPL.

When did the rape allegations first come to light?

On September 8, 2022, it came to public knowledge that a complaint had been filed at a Kathmandu police station against Lamichhane, who was in the West Indies as part of the Jamaica Tallawahs squad in Caribbean Premier League. He had been accused of raping a 17-year-old on the night of August 21.

The district court had issued an arrest warrant against Lamichhane. The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) suspended him on the same day.

The next day, Lamichhane pledged his innocence in a tweet. He withdrew himself from the CPL. On September 26, in a Facebook post, he claimed that the “false” allegations had “damaged” his “character”, and had taken a toll on his physical and mental health, though medical supervision had improved things.

Lamichhane returned to Nepal on October 6, and the immigration department at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu promptly took him into custody upon his arrival in Nepal.

Why was Lamichhane still allowed to play cricket?

On January 12, 2023, a Nepal court released him on bail of NPR 2 million (approximately USD 15,300), with Lamichhane barred from leaving Nepal.

On February 1, the CAN revoked Lamichhane’s suspension. This enabled him to play for Nepal in a Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series, also featuring Namibia and Scotland, on home soil. CAN general manager Britant Khanal assured that the board would “respect the limitation prescribed” by the court.

What has the reaction been?

Ahead of the tournament, Cricket Scotland issued a statement: “Cricket Scotland is aware of the reports regarding the legal status of Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane, ahead of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 Qualifiers. As a governing body, and as a squad, Cricket Scotland stands firmly against all forms of abuse, which have no place in modern society. The player’s availability for these games is a matter for the Cricket Association of Nepal and the ICC to consider.”

Likewise, their Namibian counterpart: “Cricket Namibia strongly opposes all forms of gender-based violence, discrimination and abuse.”

Despite that, Nepal included Lamichhane in the squad for the tri-series, though they appointed Rohit Paudel as captain instead of him.

On February 14, Lamichhane played for Nepal for the first time since August 30, 2022, against Namibia. He claimed 3-66 and fell first ball, but Kushal Bhurtel, Paudel, Sundeep Jora, and Karan KC helped Nepal chase 286. Instead of the customary post-match handshakes, the Namibian cricketers fist-bumped with the entire Nepal team.

Three days later, Lamichhane took 3-27 against Scotland, and Aasif Shaikh, Gyanendra Malla, and Kushal Malla ensured Nepal chased 275. After the match, the Scottish cricketers shook hands with every Nepal cricketer – except Lamichhane.

Was Lamichhane allowed to travel?

The CAN did not include Lamichhane in their 15-member squad for the Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Dubai. The UAE and Papua New Guinea are the other teams. However, four days later, the Supreme Court of Nepal granted Lamichhane permission to travel to Dubai for the tri-series. On the same day, Gulsan Jha, Bhurtel, and Shaikh helped Nepal beat Papua New Guinea in their first match.

Shortly afterwards, uncapped off-spinner Mousom Dhakal got injured in the nets, and Lamichhane flew out as injury replacement. A tweet from the CAN celebrating that Lamichhane was “Back in the team!” came in for criticism for its celebratory tone.

Nevertheless, Lamichhane played in Nepal’s next match, against the UAE. Nepal lost despite his 3-27 and unbeaten 24-ball 26.

Lamichhane is convicted

On December 29, 2023, Lamichhane was found guilty at the Kathmandu District Court. He now faces a hearing to determine the length of his sentence.

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