Sandeep Lamichhane interacts with the media during Delhi Daredevils' training camp © Delhi Daredevils
Sandeep Lamichhane interacts with the media during Delhi Daredevils’ training camp © Delhi Daredevils

Nepal‘s cricket sensation and their first player to get an IPL contract, Sandeep Lamichhane, interacted with the media ahead of IPL 2018 at New Delhi. Delhi Daredevils bought him for INR 50 lakhs, and the leg break bowler is thrilled to bits to share the dressing room with former Australia skipper, Ricky Ponting. Lamichhane also added that he is looking forward to play along side top-teams’ players, and gain from their experience. Through IPL, Lamichhane wants to make a mark not only for himself, but for Nepal.

Lamichhane, 17, began by stating that ICC should increase the number of teams in World Cup, as every player dreams to be a part of the marquee event. Nepal had finished eighth in the recently-concluded World Cup Qualifiers, but managed to attain the ODI status in process. ”Every player from every country dreams of playing (in) the World Cup. ICC should have increased the number of teams so that every player gets a chance to play (in) the World Cup and grow their cricket to the top level,” he said.

On his interaction with Ponting so far, Lamichhane added,  ”He is a fantastic player from his era to now and it’s a precious moment to share a dressing room with him.”

What IPL is for associate nations’ players

Lamichhane is hopeful that his IPL stint will be the start of a new era for Nepal’s cricketers. ”We were nowhere in cricket in the last two years (but) after getting ODI status recently we are getting lots of opportunities. I think (the IPL) is a great opportunity for me and it will help grow our cricket back home. We want to remain… an ODI nation and we want to play Test cricket as well.”

Lamichhane added that exposure at the game’s highest level will help bridge the gap between players from associate nations and cricket’s powerhouses. He is on the verge of playing alongside Glenn Maxwell, New Zealand pacer Trent Boult and South Africa’s speedster, Kagiso Rabada.

The difference

“I am learning the difference (playing with big players). I have got some experience during the three days at the nets. It’s great to bowl to these quality batsmen (for instance, Prithvi Shaw or Shreyas Iyer). Some of the deliveries that can’t be hit by batsmen from associate nations can be smashed by these players. The “difference is experience, we don’t get to play those big games. We don’t get that kind of exposure,” concluded Lamichhane.