In 17 year old Sandeep Lamichhane, Nepal has a true international sport personality to look upon as their pride and joy for the first time.
Lamichhane’s international career still is in its infancy, but he has been consistently demonstrating qualities of a star in the making.
A lot has been said and written about him. Just two years into his career, but already he is making inroads into the game, we never imagined.
At a tender age, already, he has represented the national team in all major international tournaments, and his professional career is off to a roaring start.
Unsurprisingly his resume looks quite impressive, and if he continues making progress at the same rate, he is destined for greater achievements.
After his return from New Delhi, the upcoming star has come under unprecedented spotlight for his cricketing exploits on the biggest stage of Twenty20 cricket, becoming one of the biggest national media darlings of recent times.
He has been elevated pretty close to celebrity status and showered with accolades and rewards. Yes, he deserved/deserves every bit of acclaim he has received.
We have witnessed the young leg break sensation take international cricket by storm,after he was drafted in the highly glamorous, rich, competitive and prestigious Indian Premier League (IPL) and acquired by Delhi Daredevils, making history.
The youngster is the first ever Nepali cricketer to play in the IPL, which attracts the cream of international talent from across the globe. This in itself is a commendable and exceptional feat.
Although he got to play only a handful of matches,he was at the top of his game. The manner in which he performed did not give the impression that he was a newcomer to the competition.
He rose to the occasion, showcasing his talent and putting in a superlative performance, winning many more hearts and minds of cricket aficionados.
Not only did he seize the opportunity but made the best of it, impressing famed Indian and foreign cricket commentators with his talent.
Since the day he burst into international scene after unearthed by former Head Coach of Nepal, Sri Lankan Pubudu Dassanayake in Chitwan, Lamichhane has been on a roller coaster ride like never seen before.
The immensely gifted cricketer’s young career has taken off on a high note. More important, he has been playing to his potential and made great strides in his quest for greatness.
He first made his mark with his incredible performance in the Under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2016.He ended the tournament with 14 wickets, including 5 for 27 with the help of a hat-trick in 10 overs against Ireland.
After what I saw, it dawned upon me that a star was born. Since then his performance has been rock solid, and unlike many, he has not crumbled under the weight of expectations.
He let his performance do the talking in two 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.In the WCL Division Two in Namibia, he claimed 17 wickets, followed by 13 wickets in the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
Then came the history making deal with Delhi Daredevils. Despite having to sit on the sidelines for the most part, he made it into the playing eleven in the late stage of the tournament.
That, however, did not stop him from making a statement on the field. He ended the season with an impressive 5 wickets, and, certainly, this has raised his profile and stock.
The budding cricketer’s foray into Caribbean Premier League(CPL) is further testimony of his undeniable talent.He was taken by St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
It does not stop there, he was selected for the World Eleven squad to play an exhibition game against the West Indies in England. Also he has quickly become the strike lynchpin of the national team bowling attack.
Cricket experts agree that, leg spin, which is Lamichhane’s form of bowling is the most difficult in cricket. No wonder, there are very few world class leg spinners in the game today.
Is Lamichhane the next big leg spin star on the horizon? Given his age, skills and potential, he could be. Having said that, he has a long way to go and there is still a lot of hard work to do.
Young Lamichhane has a big future ahead of him in the game .He must not get carried away by success, and equally critical is sustaining high performance over a long period of time.
For that matter, it is imperative that he stays one hundred percent focused, committed, disciplined, physically fit and keep a positive outlook.
In addition, seeking advice and guidance from professionals should be one of his top priorities.Like any good workmen, he must continue to work hard, improve, hone his skills and keep fighting. It is very important that he does it.
Five to ten years down the road, we might see the youngster blossom into a real super star.