Lamichchane acquitted of rape by Nepal court; to be considered for T20 World Cup

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ImageSandeep Lamichhane outside the court in Patan on Wednesday after being acquitted
(Photo: AFP via Getty Images) " data-medium-file=" ... C168&ssl=1" data-large-file=" ... C575&ssl=1" />Sandeep Lamichhane has been acquitted of rape by the Patan High Court in Nepal, allowing him to resume playing cricket with immediate effect, including, possibly, at the upcoming T20 World Cup. Soon after the court’s verdict, Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Lamichhane would be considered for Nepal’s T20 World Cup squad, subject to clearance from the ICC. The ICC has given all 20 participating teams until May 25 to submit their final 15-man squads for the World Cup, which will be played in the West Indies and the USA between June 1 and 29. “Since the high court has cleared Sandeep Lamichhane from all the allegations, he is now cleared to play all forms of cricket,” a CAN spokesperson said. Nepal’s provisional squad is already in the Caribbean and has been training in St. Vincent. They will travel to the USA closer to the start of the tournament- their first match in the main event is on June 4 against Netherlands in Dallas. Tirtharaj Bhattarai, spokesperson for the Patan High Court, told the Kathmandu Post that Lamchhane had been cleared because of “a lack of evidence”. A single-judge bench of the Kathmandu court had found Lamichhane guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman, and the sentence was announced on January 10. The bench had also fined Lamichhane approximately US$2255 and ordered him to pay approximately US$1500 in compensation to the victim. On January 11, following the verdict, Lamichhane was suspended by CAN. Earlier this month, Lamichhane had lodged an appeal against his prison sentence, and was granted permission to stay out of jail while the legal proceedings were ongoing. In early September 2022, Lamichhane, then the Nepal captain, was suspended by CAN for the first time after an arrest warrant was issued against him in Kathmandu over the matter. It followed the news that a complaint against Lamichhane had been lodged in a Kathmandu police station. At the time, Lamichhane was in the West Indies with Jamaica Tallawahs taking part in CPL 2022. The club announced that Lamichhane would be leaving the tournament with immediate effect. Upon landing at the airport in Kathmandu in early October, he had been taken into custody. He returned to the Nepal side in February last year- amid protests from rights groups at home- for a Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series at home, against Namibia and Scotland, during which opposition players did not greet him before or after the games. Subsequently, he was not considered for Nepal’s squad for the Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Dubai in early 2023, but joined the team later as an injury replacement. He has continued to turn out for Nepal since then, including at the ODI World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe in June-July last year and the ODI Asia Cup in August-September. (ESPNcricinfo)  

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