KATHMANDU: Nepal’s cricket squad on Tuesday headed to Pakistan for the ODI Asia Cup without its star spin bowler, who must stay home to stand trial for alleged rape, officials said.

Sandeep Lamichhane, 23, was once the poster boy for the rise of cricket in Nepal, but he is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel room in August last year. Lamichhane denies all wrongdoing.

“Since there is a case against him sub judice at the court, he is not going with us now — he also has some health issues,” Pradeep Majgaiyan, manager of the Cricket Association of Nepal, told reporters ahead of the team’s departure.

Lamichhane must attend the latest hearing in the case on Sunday, and Majgaiyan said it was hoped he would be able to later join the squad.

Skipper Rohit Paudel said Lamichhane still had his place on the squad.

Asia Cup is scheduled from Aug 30 to Sept 17 in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Published in Dawn, August 23th, 2023

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