Teenage leg-spinner Lamichhane talks about Nepal's rise, his ambitions and maiden IPL stint
It has been a whirlwind few months for Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane. The 17-year-old leg-spinner was a crucial member of his team at the recently concluded ICC 2019 World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe, helping his side earn their maiden ODI status.
Languishing in lowly Division Five of the ICC World Cricket League a decade ago, the landlocked country has made impressive strides, making everyone in the cricketing world take notice.
Now preparing for his maiden stint in the T20 competition, the Nepal spinner spoke at length on sidelines of Delhi Daredevil’s training session.
How is it sharing the dressing room with former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting?
I think he (Ponting) is a fantastic guy who loves cricket just like we do as well. There are lots of things like his passion for the game that I have learned from him. I have learnt a lot from his kindness. I think he is a fantastic player. It is always a special feeling when you are sharing the dressing room with such legends.
How would you describe Nepal’s journey over the last few years in international cricket?
For two and half years our board was suspended by the ICC. We were nowhere in cricket for the last two years. After just becoming an ODI nation recently, it has been catching on and there are lots of opportunities for the future. There have been many ups and downs in the last two years. Right now, if I am getting the opportunity to play in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils and ODIs for the country, it will be very good for me and it will help to grow the game back home. The future stars of Nepal will be very happy to see this.
What are your hopes for the future of Nepal cricket?
We always want to remain as an ODI nation and we do want to play Test cricket as well. There were lots of ups and downs but we are just looking forward to do well in the future.
How have cricket fans back home reacted to your team’s recent success?
Everybody is loving it. Our fans have been very kind, they are like out 12th man every time. When nothing is working, they are still with us. Coming here and then playing with the legends who you used to watch on TV and now share a dressing room with them, always gives positive thoughts to your mind and it always feels great.
Apart from cricket, you seem to love your music as well. Can you tell us about that?
Music has been my second hobby. I used to sing a little bit but not like a professional singer. Music is refreshing for me. Whenever I am nervous or going through a bad time, I listen to music to calm me down.
Has there been any difference in bowling to players from Associate teams and those in the IPL?
It’s been different. I have got some experience in the last two or three days. It’s been great to bowl to these players. You will get to learn a lot from these guys. Some of the balls which an associate player might not be able to play, these players have the kind of experience that they can smash it anywhere.
Do you think the ICC’s decision to hold a 10-team World Cup in 2019 is detrimental to the game?
Yeah that is true. Every player from every country dreams of playing the World Cup. This time it’s only 10 teams and I think the ICC should have increased that so that every player gets a chance to play at the top level at the World Cup.
Thoughts on Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir?
We all know he (Gambhir) is the kind of guy who gives a lot of chances to the youngsters. From the first day, he was very caring towards me and it gives you a lot of positivity. When the captain believes in you, your trust becomes stronger.
Have you noticed any difference in the way Nepal and Delhi Daredevils prepare ahead of a match?
Difference is not that much. We used to do the same (training) as these (IPL) players. Difference is experience because we have not played big matches like these players. We don’t have a good board to get proper exposure for players.
What are your plans for the future?
I am going well so far and I want to continue in the same way. I think some great opportunities will come for me.