The 17-year-old spinner’s bowling has impressed both Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting!
The Indian Premier League, a professional Twenty20 cricket league, established by the BCCI in India, has given opportunities for young cricketers from different corners of the country to showcase their abilities on a global stage.
What this glamour-driven platform has also given is an opportunity for talented players from countries struggling to make a real mark in the international game. Nations like Ireland, Afghanistan and Nepal are just some examples of national teams struggling, irrespective of the odd giant-killing act.
During the famed IPL players auction on Sunday, Sandeep Lamichhane became the first Nepalese cricketer to land an IPL contract when he was drafted by the Delhi Daredevils franchise.
This 17-year-old leg spinner, who spent 2-3 years in India because his father worked for the Indian Railways, bagged a sizable pay-check of Rs 20 lakh.
Sandeep caught the attention of the cricket establishment with his performance in 2016 edition of the Under-19 World Cup, where he became the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
He took 14 wickets in six innings at an average of 17 and economy rate of 4.67, according to the Press Trust of India. In the match versus Ireland, he became the fifth bowler in history to claim a hat-trick in Under-19 World Cup tournaments.
Sandeep’s skills caught the eye of former Australian captain Michael Clarke, who selected him for the Kowloon Cantons in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz tournament. Further recognition from the former Aussie skipper came when the teenager was invited to play for the NSW Premier Cricket season in Australia, called the Western Suburbs.
Another remarkable story was the auction of 16-year-old Afghan spinner Mujeeb Zadran, who was sold for a whopping Rs 4 crore to the Kings XI Punjab IPL team.
He is the third Afghan player the IPL has snapped up following Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. In an interesting aside, he is the first player born in the 21st century to play one-day international matches.