Sandeep Lamichhanne    Delhi Daredevils
Sandeep Lamichhane was picked by DD for IPL 2018 Delhi Daredevils

Kathmandu: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi batted for cricket on Saturday and highlighted the role of a professional Twenty20 cricket league in India in strengthening people-to-people ties between India and Nepal. Modi, who began his two-day visit to the Himalayan nation on Friday, pitched for “more sports” engagement in future to “connect” the two countries. “Today we are connected by cricket as a Nepali boy is a part of Indian Premier League (IPL),” Modi said, referring to Sandeep Lamichhane, who became the first cricketer from Nepal to land an IPL contract when he was picked by Delhi Daredevils team at the players auction in January.

The 17-year-old leg-spinner, who rose to prominence with a successful outing at the 2016 U-19 cricket World Cup, where he guided Nepal to a creditable eighth place, was sold at his base price of Rs 20 lakh. “This connection with cricket will strengthen our people to people ties & I hope there are more sports through which we can connect,” Modi said at a civic reception civic reception held in the capital Kathmandu to honour him.

Modi arrived in Kathmandu on Friday and held discussions with his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli on boosting bilateral ties.