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HomeSportsCricketNepal cricketer Lamichhane found guilty of rape

Nepal cricketer Lamichhane found guilty of rape

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NEPAL’S cricket star Sandeep Lamichhane was last Friday (29) convicted of rape after a repeatedly delayed trial that had left him free to continue his sporting career.

Lamichhane, 23, was once the poster boy for the rise of cricket in Nepal. The leg spinner’s onfield success had boosted the sport’s profile in the Himalayan republic.

Last year, he was accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel but was freed on bail in January and returned to the squad to compete in international tournaments.

His lawyer Saroj Ghimire told reporters that a court had convicted Lamichhane last Friday.

“His sentence will be decided in the next hearing,” Ghimire added.

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When an arrest warrant was issued, Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.

He was dismissed as national captain and arrested last year but Nepal lifted his playing ban after he was freed on bail. This allowed him to remain in the national team, including for the World Cup qualifiers and September’s Asia Cup.

Lamichhane has consistently denied the charge against him and enjoyed strong public support despite the accusations.

“You are hero of Nepali cricket team be strong we can understand your problem take care of your self,” one fan wrote on his official Facebook page in October.

But him continuing to play has also sparked anger and caused numerous Nepalis to disavow the team.

Scotland’s cricketers refused to shake hands with him after their matches during an international tournament in Dubai.

Cricket does not enjoy the same adulation in Nepal as it does elsewhere in south Asia. But it has been growing in popularity, with the country given ODI status by the world governing body in 2018.

Lamichhane has been a major part of this rise as the most sought-after Nepali cricketer in leagues around the world. His big break came when he was snapped up for the lucrative Indian Premier League, the world’s richest cricket tournament, in 2018.

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