Eastern Eye (UK)
Rape-accused on field
NEPAL’S star spin bowler Sandeep Lamichhane, who is free on bail while facing rape charges, was allowed to play in their tri-nation series match against Namibia on Tuesday (14).
His selection had sparked anger among women’s rights activists in the country, who accused the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) of “normalising genderbased violence”.
The decision to allow Lamichhane to play was widely expected after the Nepal cricket body early this month lifted a suspension against the player, who maintains his innocence.
Lamichhane is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel room last August. But the 22-year-old took the pitch and claimed three wickets as Nepal won by two wickets.
“It is extremely disappointing but also worrisome. The institutional protection for him shows an attitude of normalising genderbased violence,” activist Hima Bista said. “The narrative is if you are a celebrity, you can get away with anything... what about the victim?,” she asked.
The CAN revealed the player’s inclusion for home series on its official Twitter account.
“The board had taken disciplinary action against him and suspended him,” CAN president Chatur Bahadur Chand said on February 1. “The decision to lift the suspension will allow him to play games.”
Earlier, Nepal’s attorney general had appealed a decision to free Lamichhane on a bond of `2 million (£12,663). He had been in custody since his October 6 arrest at Kathmandu airport.
Lamichhane had been a poster boy for the rise of cricket in Nepal, which gained oneday international status in 2018. He was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals for the Indian Premier League that year, and has since been Nepal’s most sought-after player.