Nepal heads to Pakistan for Asia Cup without rape-accused Lamichhane

Nepal’s cricket team on Tuesday embarked on their journey to Pakistan for the 2023 Asia Cup without one of their star players, Sandeep Lamichhane, who is required to remain at home due to facing trial for an alleged rape case.

The 23-year-old spin bowler is accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in a hotel room in Kathmandu in August of the previous year. Lamichhane strongly refutes these allegations.

Pradeep Majgaiyan, the manager of the Cricket Association of Nepal, informed the media before the team’s departure that Lamichhane’s absence from the squad is due to his ongoing legal case and some health concerns.

As per Majgaiyan, Lamichhane is expected to attend a court hearing related to the case on upcoming Sunday. The team hopes that he will be able to join them for the tournament once the court matter is addressed.

The ODI Asia Cup, featuring six nations, is scheduled from August 30 to September 17 across Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Despite Lamichhane’s absence, there remains optimism that he might eventually rejoin the team, given the time remaining before the tournament starts, as stated by Majgaiyan.

Lamichhane, who was suspended as the national team captain and faced arrest last year, was subsequently released on bail in January. Nepal later lifted his playing ban.

While on bail, Lamichhane had the opportunity to travel abroad, including participating in the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe. Nepal, unfortunately, did not make it to the 50-over World Cup event in India in October.

Nepal is set to commence the tournament by facing the hosts, Pakistan, on August 30th in Multan.

Nepal squad: Rohit Paudel (c), Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh, Bhim Sharki, Kushal Malla, Aarif Sheikh, Dipendra Singh Airee, Gulshan Jha, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Pratish GC, Mousom Dhakal, Sundeep Jora, Kishore Mahato, Arjun Saud

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