Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane was taken into custody upon landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Thursday, following an arrest order that was issued last month, which accused him of raping a minor. (More Cricket News)
Lamichhane wrote on Facebook that he would “fully cooperate in all stages of the investigation and will fight a legal battle to prove my innocence”, before being arrested.
On September 8, a court in Nepal issued an arrest warrant for national cricket team captain Lamichhane after a 17-year-old girl alleged that he raped her in a hotel room in Kathmandu, police said.
When the warrant was issued, he was participating in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and was also Nepal cricket team’s captain.
According to the case filed at the Police Circle Gaushala here, Lamichhane, 22, allegedly took the girl to various places in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur for a visit on August 21 and raped her in a hotel in Kathmandu the same night.
Last month, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) in a statement said it has suspended Lamichhane from the team to facilitate the investigation into the allegation labelled against him.
During a telephone conversation with the CAN officials, Lamichhane denied the charges, saying he is innocent, a media report here had said, quoting the CAN officials.
Lamichhane is Nepal’s most high-profile cricketer, and the first cricketer from Nepal to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), when he made his debut for the Delhi Capitals franchise in 2018.
A wily leg-spinner, armed with a vicious googly, he was a much sought-after cricketer in other big-ticket T20 leagues around the world, including the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the CPL.
The prodigiously gifted cricketer holds the record for the world’s second-fastest bowler to capture 50 ODI wickets and the third-fastest to race to 50 T20I wickets.
Lamichhane’s last international appearance came in August this year, when he played against Kenya in a T20I encounter.