Ahead of the 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane has hailed Gautam Gambhir for making him comfortable at the Delhi Daredevils net sessions. The 17-year-old Lamichhane became the first ever Nepal cricketer to secure an IPL contract after DD picked him up for his base price of INR 20 lakhs at the auction in January.
“(Gambhir) is the kind of guy who loves to give youngsters opportunities. From the first day he was caring towards me and it helps develop trust if your captain backs you,” Lamichhane quoted by Wisden India as saying.
The teenage leggie also praised the team coach Ricky Ponting, saying: “(Ponting) is a fantastic guy, who loves cricket as we do. Everybody is very humble and down to earth and it feels nice to get in touch with them.”
“Coming and playing with these legends and just sharing a dressing room with them, whom we’re only used to watch on TV fills the mind with positivity,” he added.
Elaborating the details of his selection in IPL and the feelings he had gone through after receiving a mail from Delhi Daredevils indicating they wanted him in trial prior to the auction, Lamichhane said: “It was five or six in the evening, I was in a practice session in Nepal and I got an email for trials. I was actually shocked and it was unexpected."
“That day I had my flight, which was at 6 or 7 am, I couldn’t sleep till three. I was very excited and a bit nervous too. It was raining the day we had our trials, so we went to Smash. I bowled a few balls there. I was bowling good areas and that is why I’m here today,” he explained.
Considering the fact that his home country is not famous for its cricket history, training at the Daredevils camp must be an overwhelming experience for Lamichhane.
“We do the exact same things as I was doing there, but the difference is experience because Nepal doesn’t get to play those big games. It’s been different bowling to these guys. I’ve got some experience in these two or three days. It’s been great, you get to learn a lot. Some of the balls which an associate player can’t hit, these guys have the experience to smash it anywhere,” he asserted.
Lamichhane is fully aware of the fact that getting an opportunity in the IPL has far-reaching effects for him and possibly even for cricket’s interests in his homeland.
“It’s been fantastic, I’ve learnt a lot in three days. It’s been good for me so far and I want it to remain the same way, and some great opportunities will come for me,” Sandeep Lamichhane concluded.
The 11th edition of IPL will kick off from April 7, with returning franchise Chennai Super Kings taking on the defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium. The Delhi-based franchise will start their campaign on April 8 against Kings XI Punjab.