Lamichhane jailed for eight years on rape charge. GETTY IMAGES

Accused of raping a young woman in a Kathmandu hotel in 2022, he was released on bail and returned to competition. In December 2023, he was jailed and ordered to pay 500,000 Nepalese rupees ($1,725) to the victim for "psychological damage". His lawyer told AFP he would "appeal the decision."

A court in Nepal last Wednesday sentenced former cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane to eight years in prison for rape. At the age of 23, Lamichhane had brought sporting glory to Nepal with his talent as a leg-spin bowler. The former captain must also pay a court fine of 300,000 Nepalese rupees ($2,255) and an additional 200,000 rupees ($1,500) to the victim as compensation for the "mental impact" of his assault.

The events date back to 2022, when Lamichhane was on trial for raping a young woman in a Kathmandu hotel. He was released on bail and returned to play in international tournaments, but in December, after a trial that was repeatedly delayed, he was convicted of the rape and allowed to continue playing. He was sentenced on Wednesday. 

Sandeep Lamichhane's lawyer will appeal the verdict. GETTY IMAGES
Sandeep Lamichhane's lawyer will appeal the verdict. GETTY IMAGES

The court sentenced him to eight years," an official at the Kathmandu district court, told AFP, and his lawyer Saroj Ghimire also told AFP he would "appeal" to a higher court. The victim, who was not present in court to hear the verdict, had claimed she was a minor when she was raped, but the court rejected this in an earlier ruling, saying she was 18. The verdict was welcomed by some advocacy groups, including women's rights activist Hima Bist, who said: "This is good news; she has been fighting for a long time.

Lamichhane has enjoyed public support and has always denied the charges against him. The cricketer failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, when a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was sacked as national captain and arrested. However, Nepal lifted the ban after he was released on bail.

Lamichhane was sentenced to eight years in prison. GETTY IMAGES
Lamichhane was sentenced to eight years in prison. GETTY IMAGES

The decision allowed him to play in World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 Asian Cup. He has been a controversial figure, supported by fans who celebrated his return to the field as soon as the authorities allowed it, but also criticised by some fellow cricketers, who even resigned from the national team, and others who expressed their discomfort and disapproval at some international matches where they faced Lamichhane. 

The Scotland players' refusal to shake hands with Sandeep Lamichhane

The Scottish players refused to shake Sandeep Lamichhane's hand. Team-mates and players' rejection of Sandeep Lamichhane was evident throughout 2023. The most striking occurred when the entire Scottish team refused to shake hands with the Nepalese player when the two teams met. The Scottish players began the match by refusing to shake his hand to protest Lamichhane's involvement in the series. At the time, the player was out on bail on charges of rape of a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel room in August 2022. Sandeep Lamichhane was initially banned from cricket, but the ban was lifted and he was allowed to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2. He was on trial last December and on 10 January the court sentenced him to eight years in prison for rape, a verdict that his lawyer has said will be appealed

According to the AFP news agency, the gesture was made after a unanimous vote by the players and staff. They had previously informed the Nepal team and Lamichhane himself of their decision. Earlier in the day, Cricket Scotland had issued a statement ahead of the match against Nepal, making its position clear: "As a governing body and as a team, Cricket Scotland is strongly opposed to all forms of abuse, which have no place in modern society. The availability of players for these matches will be a matter for consideration by the Nepal Cricket Board and the ICC.

On Wednesday 10 October, Cricket Scotland issued an official statement.

Cricket Scotland Statement-online abuse:
"Cricket Scotland refuses to tolerate online abuse of any of its current or past players and staff. The governing body takes its responsibilities around duty of care to its employees extremely seriously and is supporting those who have been the target of recent abuse on social media platforms. Cricket is a sport for all. Nobody within our game should be put in a position whereby they must endure abuse of any kind, either online or in person. All avenues of action are being considered against those who abuse Cricket Scotland players and staff. The governing body will not hesitate to act in the strongest possible terms against those who choose to commit such acts."