Sandeep belies age to shine in IPL

- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 14, 2018-

Sandeep Lamichhane, the 17-year-old Nepali leg spinner, belied his age and experience to shine for Delhi Daredevils in his debut Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Feroz Shah Kotla grounds in New Delhi on Saturday.

The Daredevils might have lost the match by five wickets, which effectively sealed their fate of making it to the playoffs, but the Nepali star bowler impressed with his variations that not only fetched him a wicket of Parthiv Patel but also troubled the likes of Indian skipper Virat Kohli and flamboyant South African batsman AB De Villiers. With the defeat, Delhi’s any remaining hopes of making it to the playoffs ended for good. They have just six points from 12 matches with two games left in the eight-team tournament. De Villiers praised the Nepali star saying: “Lamichhane’s only 17, it’s admirable. Wonder how these youngsters do it. Great for Indian cricket, great for cricket overall.”

To add to his credit, Lamichhane finished the match with an enviable figures of 1-25 in four overs. Tasked with spearheading his team’s bowling, Lamichhane ended up conceding just two runs, the most economical bowling figures for a debut over by an Associate bowler in the history of the IPL tournament. He rarely put on a wrong foot despite Bangalore batsman, especially Kohli, thrashing his teammate at the other end. Playing at the biggest stage and probably the biggest game of his life, Lamichhane belied his age to keep calm and contain two of the world’s finest batsmen.

“Obviously my performance doesn’t matter if your team is not winning. I’m still happy and looking forward to giving my best again,” Lamichhane told reporters after the game. Indeed, Lamichhane is poised to get more games considering what his captain Shreyas Iyer told the reporters: “We are making 2-3 changes per game now, so it’s all about setting our team for the next year.” Delhi play Chennai Super Kings in their penultimate game on Friday before rounding up their season with a clash against Mumbai Indians on Sunday.

Going by Saturday’s performance, Lamichhane has effectively raised his worth for the next season. But the man himself wants to keep his feet on the ground and not get carried away by his debut performance. Talking to Michael Clarke—the former Australian captain who played an important part in grooming his talent by inviting the youngster to play club cricket in Sydney—after the match, Lamichhane said he was proud to finally get the opportunity to play in the tournament. “I was putting a lot of hard work...Fortunately, I got the opportunity today and it was fantastic.”

Lamichhane added: “Ricky Ponting has been exceptional coach so far [for me]. I have learnt too many things from him. I am really enjoying this moment. There is a long way to go and I have to be grounded and stay humble. That’s what I have learned back home and here as well. I am looking forward to giving my best again.” Expressing his feelings of bowling against De Villiers and Kohli, Lamichhane said: “It was a great opportunity bowling against the top two batsmen in the world. I got to learn a lot from them. I really enjoyed bowling to them.” Clarke tweeted Lamichhane’s debut as an “amazing story” while former Australian cricketer Dean Jones re-tweeted his feed saying, “Proud day for Nepal!”

Published: 14-05-2018 07:02

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