He is just 17. But if you have an interaction with Sandeep Lamichhane, you will realize that he is as mature as a professional cricketer should be like. The legspinner, who is the first cricketer from Nepal to play in the Indian Premier League, is representing Delhi Daredevils this year. In an exclusive chat with the CricketSoccer.com, the young and talented cricketer unfolds his dream, i.e to represent Nepal in test cricket.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer (CS): What does it mean for you and Nepal to earn the ODI status?
Sandeep Lamichhane (SL): This is the result of immense hard work, patience and willpower of an entire nation. We worked hard for this and finally achieved it. It means a lot, of course. We don’t have proper infrastructure back at home. The domestic cricket in Nepal is also not so competitive. But we are looking forward. There has to be a lot of changes in Nepal cricket and it needed a platform to raise the voice for cricket. The ICC ODI status gives us that platform standing on which we can think about the development of the game in our country. We are just praying everything gets a new shape. We are trying to be a competitive nation as well on the cricketing ground.
CS: How would you describe Nepal’s journey in international cricket?
SL: We were nowhere in cricket for the last two years because our board was suspended by the ICC. 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. But if we get to play ODIs for the country regularly, it will help to grow the game back home. The future stars of Nepal will be very happy to see this.
CS: What are the reactions of the cricket lovers back at home?
SL: Not only the Nepalese people, I think this occasion is being admired all over the world. On social media platforms like twitter or Facebook, I am getting lots of messages wishing both me and the national team a great journey in International One Day games. I’m thankful to everyone. It is their support that makes us going on the field. Supporters and followers have been very kind to us.
CS: How hopeful are you about the future of Nepal cricket?
SL: 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. Again I am saying, there has to be a lot of changes in Nepal and we are just hoping that there will be good people in the upcoming years. Everything has to be changed. Our target would be to enjoy the game and prove our worth with our performance. We have to prove that we are capable enough to play international ODIs. At the same time, we are not complacent. We have set a new target and that is to earn test team status. And we want to earn it. Getting ODI status should just be the beginning. We dream bigger.
CS: What is your individual goal at this stage?
SL: Individually I am eager to perform in every match that I get to play. I have to back my strength. Since my childhood, I have been fascinated by cricket. I always dream to play for my country and right now I am living my dreams. In my childhood, I used to play with my friends and that was for fun. As I grew up, I approach the game more professionally.
CS: Who is your favourite cricketer?
SL: As a legspinner, Shane Warne is my idol. I watch his bowling videos on youtube whenever I get some time. If I get a chance to meet him, I will ask him a few questions regarding bowling. I am looking forward to an opportunity.
CS: Tell us about the impact of Michael Clarke in your career.
SL: Michael Clarke has been like a mentor to me. From the time, he saw me bowling at the Hong Kong Sixes, he kept an eye on me. He is a kind man, a humble soul, who has helped me grow as a cricketer and a person. It was a lifetime experience to have played under him for the Western Suburbs Cricket Club in Sydney grade league. That has been a huge gain for a young player like me. Today what I am, it’s because of Clarke sir only. I am grateful to him.