Cricketer Lamichhane's Visa Hurdle for T20 World Cup Participation

Cricketer Lamichhane's Visa Hurdle for T20 World Cup Participation
Image : Gyanendra Shahi Facebook Page

Cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane will not be able to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United States and West Indies after being denied a visa by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu.

Lamichhane, Nepal's star leg-spinner, informed his fans through social media on Wednesday that like in 2019, the U.S. Embassy has again refused to grant him a visa this year. He apologized to his supporters for missing the marquee tournament.

22-year-old Lamichhane was recently acquitted by the Patan High Court in a rape case, overturning an earlier 8-year prison sentence by the Kathmandu District Court. The High Court stated the charges against him could not be confirmed.

Following the visa denial, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has initiated efforts with the Prime Minister's Office, Home Ministry, and Sports Ministry to facilitate Lamichhane's participation in the World Cup.

RPP Chief Whip Gyanendra Bahadur Shahi informed that the Prime Minister's Office is working with the Home and Sports Ministers on the visa process to allow Lamichhane to travel to the U.S. Shahi, along with CAN Secretary Paras Khadka, Lamichhane's lawyer Saroj Ghimire, and an MP met with Sports Minister Birajbhakta Shrestha, expressing hope that a way will be found for the cricketer to play in the World Cup.

Shahi wrote on Facebook, "Since this morning, we have initiated the process...with all the agencies of the Nepal government, the Prime Minister's Office, the Home Minister and the Sports Minister for Sandeep Lamichhane's visa to go to America to play in the World Cup. Hope the way to play the World Cup will open."

Nepal has already sent a 15-member squad captained by Rohit Paudel to the U.S. Lamichhane was not included initially due to the pending court case. With his acquittal, his path to the World Cup is now clear if the visa issue can be resolved.

The Nepali team has been preparing with practice matches in the West Indies and will also face Canada and the U.S. in warm-ups on May 27 and 30 respectively. Their first World Cup match is against the Netherlands on June 4, with further games against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Bangladesh in Group D.

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