Sandeep Lamichhane set to be included in Nepal squad for tri-series

Activists protest against the decision of Cricket Association of Nepal to revoke the suspension on Sandeep Lamichhane AFP/Getty Images

Sandeep Lamichhane could be included in Nepal's squad for their Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series at home in Kirtipur against Namibia and Scotland, in what would constitute his first appearance since his arrest last year. Lamichhane is currently out on bail, facing charges of alleged sexual coercion of another person. Nepal's squad for the series is likely to be announced by February 10. His name is in a 14-man squad sent to the ICC for registration purposes - as the event is an ICC tournament - but that could still change when the squad is officially announced.

His potential selection had been signposted after the Cricket Association of Nepal revoked his suspension last week. Lamichhane has been training with the team at a pre-series camp.

The lifting of the suspension led to protests over the weekend in Nepal, calling for a boycott of the upcoming games against Namibia and Scotland. Cricket Scotland and Cricket Namibia issued statements, to say that Lamichhane's availability was a matter for CAN and the ICC to consider.

"Cricket Scotland is aware of the reports regarding the legal status of Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane, ahead of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 Qualifiers.

"As a governing body, and as a squad, Cricket Scotland stands firmly against all forms of abuse, which have no place in modern society.

"The player's availability for these games is a matter for the Cricket Association of Nepal and the ICC to consider."

"Cricket Namibia strongly opposes all forms of gender-based violence, discrimination and abuse," the Namibia board statement said.

On Monday, the Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan met with Lamichhane in Nepal, as part of a visit with the team and board to discuss the growth of the game in the country. The visit drew criticism of Rizwan on social media.

Britant Khanal, the CAN general manager, had earlier told ESPNcricinfo that the decision to remove the suspension and allow Lamichhane to play in the tri-series was with the condition that he would "respect the limitation prescribed" by the court that granted him bail in January this year. And if Nepal were to go on tour, Lamichhane's participation would depend on whether the court gave him permission for it or not.

The suspension came into effect in September last year after an arrest warrant was issued against Lamichhane in Kathmandu. He was granted bail for the equivalent of around US$ 15,300 but was barred from leaving the country until the final verdict.

Lamichhane, 22, is Nepal's most high-profile cricketer, and the only one to have played in T20 leagues in most parts of the world, including in the IPL, the BBL, the PSL, the BPL, and the CPL. When the news of the arrest warrant came out, Lamichhane was in the West Indies with Jamaica Tallawahs, his CPL team. He returned to Nepal after that, and was taken into custody on October 6.

He is also the world's second-fastest bowler to 50 ODI wickets and third-fastest to 50 T20I wickets, and last played international cricket in August 2022, in the T20I series against Kenya. He was also Nepal's captain at the time of the arrest warrant, a position he lost following his suspension. Rohit Paudel will lead Nepal in the series against Namibia and Scotland.