Nepal’s young leg-spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane has been recruited for the upcoming Hong Kong Blitz—a Twenty20 tournament beginning from May 27.
Kowloon Cantons, one of the four franchises in the three-day tournament, recruited the 16-year old Lamichhane for the first edition of the event organised by Hong Kong Cricket Association. Rude Bar Island Warriors, Hung Hom JD Jaguars and Gii Lantau Galaxy Riders are the other three teams in the tournament.
Lamichhane, who was likened to Australian spin legend Shane Warne during his breathtaking performance in the recently concluded ICC U-19 World Cup, is few of the foreign recruits among the franchises. Lamichhane was excited to play in Hong Kong. “This is a very good opportunity for me,” said Lamichhane on Thursday. “At first, I didn’t believe that I was called up because Hong Kong is hosting a tournament of such kind for the first time. It would be a great experience for me. They have told me to pay for my brief stint there but I am yet to know in detail about it,” added the spinner.
Lamichhane will play under British cricketer Scott McKechnie, who had invited the Nepali bowler for the tournament. McKechnie was playing as the wicketkeeper for Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) during its visit to Nepal last November. Lamichhane had picked up seven wickets from three games against MCC then.
Lamichhane had taken 14 wickets during the U-19 World Cup in Bangladesh where he ended up becoming the second highest wicket-taker. Lamichhane had also taken a hat-trick against Ireland during the U-19 World Cup. The U-19 World Cup was his first international tournament before he impressed further during Nepal’s ICC World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) matches against Namibia in Kathmandu just over a week ago.
The match against Namibia was his debut for the senior team. Nepal are slated to play Hong Kong in their fifth round fixtures of the WCLC and the spinner believes his stint there will be fruitful. “We are playing them (Hong Kong) in the WCLC and my stay there will help me understand the conditions. It will make me well aware about the Hong Kong batsmen,” he added.
Lamichhane has set himself an ambitious target of playing in Australia’s Big Bash—an IPL-modeled Twenty20 tournament—and he believed playing in Hong Kong will be helpful in achieving his dreams. The Hong Kong national team includes former Australian cricket Ryan Campbell and Australian coach Charlie Bruke. He will also play alongside Campbell, Babar Hayat, Tanvir Ahmed, Najib Amar and Simandeep Singh with the Kowloon.