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5 June 2021
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane will not feature in the Vitality Blast for Worcestershire as the United Kingdom government has not approved his visa.
The Worcestershire Rapids decided to release him before the tournament scheduled to start on June 9 after failing to resolve the impending visa issues after there was an extended delay to his work application and passport issues.
At his place, the Rapids have roped in New Zealand leg spinner Ish Sodhi as a like for like replacement and he will be available for the entire group stage of the tournament after arriving in the United Kingdom next weekend.
“It is a really good signing for us, a high class international player of the same skill set that we wanted to bring in as one of our overseas players for the Blast. Ish has vast experience in T20 cricket and the fact he has already played in the Blast is an added bonus and I’m sure he will become a popular member of the group. It is also good that he can get here so quickly once we made it known we wanted to sign him,” said a delighted Worcestershire CCC Head Coach, Alex Gidman.
Lamichhane took to Facebook Live and said that he wasn’t really happy with the situation.
“I’m not really happy with the situation going around … I don’t know what’s going wrong,” Sandeep said.
“I’m just very much concerned about the future of Nepal cricket and the future of Nepal. I don’t know what’s going to happen here,” he added.
The leggie further took a dig at the government. “The government doesn’t appreciate athletes like us,” he said.
Even if Lamichhane gets the approval at the last minute, he will still have to miss eight matches due to the quarantine and Covid-19 protocols and restrictions.
This is not the first time that Sandeep is facing visa issues. Last year, initially his visa application was rejected to travel to play the CPL via flights through the USA. But it was eventually approved after it was pushed by the Nepali public to the front.