Nepal suspends former captain Sandeep Lamichhane after rape conviction. GETTY IMAGES

A day after a Nepalese court sentenced Lamichhane to eight years in prison for rape, the former captain has been suspended by the country's cricket board. He will appeal against the sentence in a court of law, his lawyer said.

"We inform you," said Chatur Bahadur Chand, president of the Nepal Cricket Board, in a statement, "that Sandeep Lamichhane has been suspended from all national and international cricket activities following his conviction and sentence.

The former Nepal captain was convicted of rape by a Nepalese court last Thursday. The following day, the country's sports authorities suspended the player. He was banned from taking part in any national or international competitions.

The Asian nation's cricket board reacted swiftly. Lamichhane will not be remanded in custody and was not present when the court handed down the sentence that now hangs over him. The 23-year-old player was charged with raping a girl in a Kathmandu hotel in 2022. 

At the time, the authorities released him on bail so that he could play with the national team ahead of the trial. During those days, Lamichhane faced rejection from some of his fellow players and women's rights campaigners. Opponents refused to greet him at a match against Nepal, and when he faced the Scotland team, the players unanimously decided not to shake his hand on the pitch in protest at his freedom. 

Lamichhane's early career has made him one of the figures who has brought the sport to prominence in Nepal and become its poster boy. The leg-spinner's signing by the Indian Premier League, the world's richest cricket tournament, in 2018 was a major boost to his career.

He was granted bail, allowing him to play in the 2023 World Cup and Asian Cup, but his suspension from all sporting competitions is now official. In 2022, he faced rape allegations but was allowed to continue his sporting career. 

The same thing happened in December last year when he was sentenced to eight months in prison. Pending the court's final verdict, he was also given the freedom to continue his career. His lawyer, Saroj Ghimire, told AFP that he would "appeal against the verdict" in a higher court.