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File photo of Sandeep Lamichhane© Twitter

Nepal’s high-profile cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane on Wednesday claimed that the US embassy has denied him visa for the upcoming T20 World Cup, where he was hoping to make a comeback to international cricket following his acquittal in a rape case. In a huge setback to his career, Lamichhane, the only cricketer from Nepal to have played in IPL, was arrested in September 2022 on allegations of raping an 18-year-old girl. He was later released on bail but remained suspended from domestic and international cricket.

Exactly a week ago, the 23-year-old leg-spinner was acquitted by an appeals court following which the ICC allowed the Nepal cricket board to add him to the World Cup squad.

“And the @USEmbassyNepal did it again what they did back in 2019, they denied my Visa for the T-20 World Cup happening in USA and West Indies. Unfortunate. I am sorry to all the well wishers of Nepal Cricket. @USAmbNepal @CricketNep,” Lamichhane posted on X, quoting an earlier post when he was denied visa in 2019.

In 2019, Lamichhane was looking to compete in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) but was denied visa by the US embassy.

Gearing up to play in their only second T20 World Cup, Nepal have been placed in Group D along with South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Netherlands.

In the absence of Lamichhane, Nepal had handed the reins of the team to batting all-rounder Rohit Paudel.

The Cricket Association of Nepal president Chatur Bahadur Chand was recently quoted as saying in media reports that they are looking to add Lamichhane to their World Cup squad.

In 51 ODIs, Lamichhane has taken 112 wickets and is close to completing 100-wicket milestone in the T20 format. He has so far featured in 52 T20Is, taking 98 wickets. He has also played in the IPL for Delhi Capitals.

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