The Cricket Association of Nepal has named Sandeep Lamichhane, a 21-year-old leg-spinner, as the next national captain, replacing existing skipper Gyanendra Malla and also stripping Dipendra Singh Airee of the vice-captaincy. As a result of an ongoing contractual disagreement with the Nepal Cricket Association, Malla and his deputy Dipendrahave been ousted from their leadership positions. Senior seamer Sompal Kami and young fast bowler Kamal Singh Airee’s central contracts have also been suspended for six months for speaking out against the pay dispute.
The players’ dispute with CAN has been underway since early October, with several senior players objecting to the way the graded central contracts were granted, as well as modifications to match fees and prize money distribution terms. According to Cricbuzz, the board of directors publicly chastised players for their lack of “discipline.” Last week, CAN President Chatur Bahadur Chand raised eyebrows when he warned the under-19 players at the national championship about the dangers of indiscipline and chastised current national players for criticising the board.
Lamichhane is currently in Australia playing for the Hobart Hurricanes in his fourth season of the Big Bash League. He is credited with leading Nepal in the Asia Cup at the U19 level in 2016 and again in 2017. His most recent captaincy stint came while leading the Kathmandu Kings in Nepal’s domestic T20 competition, Everest Premier League. However, Lamichhane will debut as national captain at the 2022 T20 World Cup Global Qualifier (Group A), slated to begin in February in Oman.
The cricket board also announced this week that Pubudu Dassanayake will take over as head coach following Dav Whatmore’s resignation in September after Nepal’s ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 matches in Oman. Dassanayake has had a long and successful stint as Nepal’s coach at the Associate level. From 2011 to 2016, he was a part of the Nepal setup, leading them from Division Four of the World Cricket League (WCL) to Division One of the WCL Championship and their first major ICC competition, the 2014 T20 World Cup.