Clarke's protege eyes BBL dream
Sandeep Lamichhane, brought to Australia by former skipper Michael Clarke, impresses in first match in Australia
Sam Ferris at Allan Border Oval, Sydney
24 September 2016, 02:59 PM AEST
Michael Clarke’s comeback in Sydney club cricket may have stolen the headlines on Saturday, but a 16-year-old leg-spinner from Nepal gained plenty of attention as well.
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Sandeep Lamichhane only landed in Australia on Monday, flown over by Clarke after the former Australia captain spotted him in Hong Kong during a T20 tournament in May.
The youngster, who turned 16 last week, impressed in his Sydney Premier Cricket debut at Mosman’s Allan Border Oval on Saturday, claiming 1-17 from eight tidy overs for Western Suburbs.
Lamichhane is a star for Nepal’s Under-19 side, but he’s already made it known what his No.1 priority is.
"My dream is to play Big Bash," Lamichhane said.
After the way the leggie bowled today, a KFC Big Bash League contract might not be as far away as he thinks.
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"It’s a good start, he’s only been here for a week so I think it will only get better," Clarke said between innings on Saturday.
"I think he assessed conditions quite early in his first two overs, changed his pace and bowled his variations when he needed to.
"I think that mind, he’s got cricketing experience that he’s unaware of at the moment.
"I think that’s going to be his greatest strength. To be able to bowl out of the back of the hand is one thing, but to know what you’re doing is another."
While Clarke dismissed the notion of Lamichhane being the 'Nepalese Shane Warne' he said it was more his passion than his prowess that caught his eye.
And that’s easy to understand the way Lamichhane describes his love of the game.
"You can see it’s like oxygen to me, because without cricket I can’t live," Lamichhane said.
Clarke couldn’t agree more.
"Sandeep has a lot of talent, there’s no doubt about it, but I think he offers a hell of a lot more than that, and I think that’s why I’ve done whatever I could to try and get him to Sydney,” Clarke said.
"He’s a lovely young man. He’s extremely respectful of his fans and the people that support him.
"He’s very close to his family and I think he fits in perfectly at this great club at Western Suburbs.
"I think today was a little glimpse of what's to come. I don’t want to put any pressure on him (but) he loves the game as much as anyone I’ve seen and that’s what I think is important.
"Let him play, let him enjoy his cricket. He’s around good people here at Western Suburbs. The future will take care of itself."