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Sunday March 03, 2024

Cricketer accused of rape cleared to travel

"The court has opened doors for him to travel abroad to play today after our appeal," Lamichhane lawyer says

By AFP
February 27, 2023
Rape-accused Nepali cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane. — AFP/File
Rape-accused Nepali cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane. — AFP/File

KATHMANDU: Rape-accused Nepali cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane could join his team in Dubai for an international tri-series after the Supreme Court lifted his travel ban on Monday and upheld his bail.

Lamichhane, 22, is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel room in August.

"The court has opened doors for him to travel abroad to play today after our appeal," Saroj Ghimire, Lamichhane’s lawyer, told AFP.

Nepal’s national team is in Dubai, playing against United Arab Emirates and Papua New Guinea, as part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series.

The country’s cricket association said efforts would be made to include Lamichhane in the squad.

The court also denied an appeal by Nepal’s attorney general seeking to revoke his bail.

Lamichhane had initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, when authorities issued an arrest warrant in September.

He was arrested after flying back in October but was freed in January on conditional bail that restricted him from travelling abroad.

Nepal’s cricket association, which had banned him and suspended his captaincy, allowed him back on to the field two weeks ago, and he was welcomed by cheering crowds for tri-series matches against Scotland and Namibia in Kathmandu.

Although the ICC did not comment on Lamichhane’s selection, Scotland’s cricketers refused to shake hands with him after their matches.

The star spin-bowler had been a poster boy for the rise of cricket in mountainous Nepal, which gained one-day international status in 2018.

His big break came when he was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals for the money-spinning Indian Premier League in 2018 and he has since been Nepal’s most sought-after cricketer.