Sandeep Lamichhane has been a path-breaker when it comes to cricket in Nepal. The 18-year-old made a huge impression with his legspin in the 2016 Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh and since then, he has made giant strides. Lamichhane became the first Nepal player to be picked in the Indian Premier League when Delhi Daredevils (Now Delhi Capitals) acquired his services. The youngster would also play for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League but his value has received a boost tremendously when he became the first player from an Associate Nation to be picked in the Australian Big Bash League when Melbourne Stars acquired him. On Friday, Lamichhane added yet another feather to his cap when he made his debut for Melbourne Stars against the Sydney Thunder in Canberra.
Melbourne Stars elected to bowl but Sydney Thunder made a great start, with Jos Buttler and Shane Watson getting them off to a good start. Although Buttler was dismissed by legspinner Adam Zampa, Sydney Thunder managed to go past 50 in just the seventh over and was laying the foundation for a big score. It was at that time that Lamichhane came on to bowl for the first time in the league and he immediately made an impact. With the second ball of his first over, Lamichhane bowled a flighted delivery to Watson and the batsman played a lofted shot to long on but the fielder Nick Larkin took a good, leaping catch to give the youngster his first wicket in the league.
Things got even better for Lamichhane in the same over. Callum Ferguson, who played for Australia nine years ago and looking in great touch, looked to work a legbreak to the on side but the ball gripped the surface and the batsman could only manage a simple return catch back to the bowler. Lamichhane had an interesting tussle against England skipper Joe Root and appealed for an LBW shout which was denied. However, he was taken apart by Jason Sangha as he blasted three sixes to ruin Lamichhane’s figures as he ended with figures of 4-0-36-2.
Sydney Thunder managed to reach 181/5 but a lengthy rain delay stalled the Melbourne Stars’ run-chase. After being set a revised target of 90 in eight overs, the Stars could not get going and they lost the game by 15 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method. However, the performance of Lamichhane brightened the mood in the Melbourne Stars camp.
Lamichhane has a wonderful relationship with former Australia skipper Michael Clarke whom he played with in a Twenty20 tournament in Hong Kong in May 2016. Impressed by the performance, Clarke brought him over to Sydney where he made his debut in the domestic Premier League tournament for a team called the Western Suburbs. It was during that match that he said, “My dream is to play the Big Bash League.” The dream has finally come true for the youngster.