Clarke (2nd from L) receiving Lamicchane (3rd from L) at the Sydney airport. Image courtesy: Twitter
Clarke (2nd from L) receiving Lamicchane (3rd from L) at the Sydney airport. Image courtesy: Twitter

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has been making waves of late for a multiple reasons. The prolific batsman, who called it quits to his One-Day International (ODI) and Test career last year after the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and the Ashes respectively, was in line for a return to play Twenty20 (T20) cricket in the Big Bash League (BBL). Having retired from the shortest format long ago, it was surprising Clarke still had the hunger to play. He even played in Hong Kong T20 blitz to keep himself match fit. However, recently, he announced he won’t be a part of the BBL this year and would instead be seen behind the microphone in the commentary box.

Another reason why Clarke made news was for his affection for the 16-year-old leg-spinner from Nepal — Sandeep Lamichhane. So impressed was Clarke with the young cricketer that he invited him to represent Sydney-based club Western Suburbs in Sydney’s Premier Cricket competition. It is the same club Clarke is a part of and for which he intends to play this year too. Clarke did not stop here, as he even invited Lamichhane to train at Clarke’s cricket academy in Sydney during his season-long stay in Australia.

And now, that time has come as the young Nepali cricketer has arrived in Sydney on Monday. Importantly, Clarke himself was present to receive the talented youngster at the Sydney Airport. He posted the video of the same with an emotional message as the caption, which read as: “Absolutely pumped to see my little mate arrive in Sydney! #nepalesecricket #wests”

Lamichhane had a wonderful Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh earlier this year, which was won by West Indies after they beat favourites India in the final. He ended the tournament as the second highest wicket-taker with 14 scalps in six games at 17.07 apiece with a best of 5 for 27 against Ireland; a spell that earned him praise from the man himself — Shane Warne. Besides these numbers, it was also his meeting with Clarke in Hong Kong that helped him land a training program in Australia.

Clarke himself had made ESPNCricinfo aware regarding the development, by saying, “I had recognised Sandeep’s outstanding potential during his short stint as a player an mentor in Hong Kong earlier this year. Sandeep is a fantastic young man who enjoys his cricket and is extremely passionate about the game. It is a really exciting opportunity to have such a talented Nepalese cricketer travel this distance to come and test his skills and improve his game at my academy. I am looking forward to working with him and all the boys and girls that will attend the 5-day live in camp starting September 26th.”

The young cricketer has got the opportunity of a lifetime. Hope he makes the most of it and goes on to make a name for himself in the years to come.