Dubai: Nepal's teenage spinner Sandeep Lamichhane continued his rapid rise in international cricket as he was named in the ICC World XI squad to take on the West Indies in a charity T20 International on May 31.
However, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has withdrawn from the game due to personal reasons, the ICC stated today without specifying the exact cause of his pullout. The 17-year-old Lamichhane, who is mentored by former Australian captain Michael Clarke, is currently playing in the Indian Premier League for the Delhi Daredevils. The charity match will be played at the iconic Lord's in London to raise funds for Caribbean stadia ravaged by hurricanes last year.
Lamichhane will join a star-studded line-up, which also comprises Eoin Morgan (captain), Shahid Afridi, Tamim Iqbal, Dinesh Karthik, Rashid Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan, Shoaib Malik, Hardik Pandya, Thisara Perera and Luke Ronchi against the ICC World T20 champion side.
The West Indian squad includes the likes of Samuel Badree, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels and Andre Russell among others. Lamichhane was spotted by then Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake in 2014 and first represented Nepal in the 2016 U-19 World Cup in which he took 16 wickets.
In the historic MCC versus Nepal match at Lord's in July the same year, Lamichhane had figures of one for 25 as the visitors successfully defended 217 for eight, bowling out the hosts for 176 in 47.2 overs.
The wrist-spinner claimed 17 wickets in six World Cricket League Division Two matches in Namibia earlier this year in February and then followed up with 13 wickets in the World Cup Qualifier in March to help Nepal finish eighth and with it earn ODI status until 2022.
Success continued to follow Lamichhane when he became the first Nepal player to be picked in the IPL, signed up by the Delhi Daredevils. He justified his selection when he returned figures of one for 25 on his debut against a Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Reacting to his inclusion in the ICC World XI, Lamichhane said: "It is an honour for the entire country and passionate followers of Nepal cricket, as well as an indicator that we are making our mark on the international game.
"Training, sharing the dressing room and playing with some of the trend-setters who we saw on television while growing up is something I look forward to. This is an opportunity for me to learn and improve, and I am committed to cashing in on this," he added. Shakib's replacement will be announced soon, the ICC stated.