Shrugging aside the widespread protest, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) has inducted rape accused and under-investigation star cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane in its squad for the triangular series scheduled for next week.
Announcing the final 14-member final squad for the Triangular Series of ICC World Cup League 2, Lamichhane is out on bail in charge of raping a minor and is under investigation while his bail is also challenged in the Apex Court.
The triangular series is set to be held at the TU Cricket ground in Kirtipur with Nepal standing against Namibia and Scotland starting February 14-21.
The protests erupted with the induction of Lamichhane into the training camp starting last month when the CAN lifted the disciplinary suspension. Some of the activists and cricket supporters have come to the road against the decision.
With the announcement of the final squad on late Thursday evening, the supporters have continued to protest against the decision on social media.
“@CricketNep has brought shame and has cast a dark shadow over the sport. You guys betrayed the trust of fans by protecting an accused rapist. I see a complete lack of integrity and respect for the survivors,” tweeted a social media user.
“The cricket association of Nepal has a special kind of hatred for women of this country. What a shameful organization!” tweeted another.
Another user wrote, “It’s not #nepalsquad – it is bunch of idiots promoting #sexual #misconduct!! Go back #Namibia #Scotland”
With questions being raised the Cricket Scotland team and Namibian teams earlier this week issued a release regarding the game and said, “Cricket Scotland is aware of the reports regarding the legal status of Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane, ahead of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 Qualifiers.
As a governing body, and as a squad, Cricket Scotland stands firmly against all forms of abuse, which have no place in modern society.”
It further stated, “The player’s availability for these games is a matter for the Cricket Association of Nepal and the ICC to consider.”
Along with the visiting Namibian team also issued a release saying, “Cricket Namibia strongly opposes all forms of gender-based violence, discrimination and abuse.”
The star cricketer who led Nepal to various international fronts in cricket and led the national team as captain in the earlier times at the age of 19 has been accused of raping a minor and is out on bail. Despite the rising dissatisfaction with a legal battle, the newly appointed head coach Monty Desai inducted him into the squad.
Out on bail, the star cricketer’s temporary release has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
Lamichhane has been accused of raping a 17-year-old minor and was out on bail on the 99th day on January 13 this year by Patan High Court. His bail again was challenged by the Attorney General’s Office on February 3 filing a petition on Apex Court.
An investigation is being conducted against him under Section 219 of the Criminal Code 2074. If the crime against him stands, he will serve a prison term of 10-12 years.
The Cricket Association of Nepal executive committee meeting had decided to lift the ban on Lamichhane on January 31 imposed on September 8 last year and was also named in the 20-member closed camp on February 2.
Allrounder Aarif Sheikh was among the notable excluded from the 20-member camp while left-arm orthodox Surya Tamang has been included in the final squad for the first time. Kamal Singh Airee, Kishor Mahato, Pratish GC, Arjun Saud and Mausam Dhakal are other players excluded from the 14-member squad.
Sheikh, GC, Dhakal and Saud are listed as the four reserved players
Rohit Paudel (captain), Kushal Bhurtel, Aasif Sheikh, Gyanendra Malla, Sompal Kami, Karan KC, Sandeep Laimchhane, Lalit Rajbanshi, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sundeep Jora, Gulshan Jha, Bhim Sharki and Surya Tamang are the players announced in the final squad for the triangular series. (ANI)