US again rejects visa for Nepali Cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane

Kathmandu: In a setback to Nepali cricket, the United States Embassy in Kathmandu has once again declined to grant a visa to renowned cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane, impeding his participation in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Lamichhane, a prominent figure in Nepali cricket, underwent a visa interview at the US Embassy on Thursday at 4 PM, following a prior visa denial. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), acting upon the request of the Sports Ministry, had dispatched a diplomatic note to facilitate Lamichhane’s visa issuance for his scheduled appearance in the T20 World Cup hosted by the US and the West Indies.

The denial of Lamichhane’s visa has sparked public outrage, with his supporters taking to the streets to demand the US Embassy to reconsider its decision. Earlier assurances from Sports Minister Biraj Bhakta Shrestha regarding facilitating Lamichhane’s travel to the US for the tournament have now been met with disappointment.

Lamichhane’s visa hurdles come at a crucial juncture, with other members of the Nepali cricket team already present in the United States for tournament preparations.

This latest development compounds challenges for Lamichhane and disrupts the national team’s preparations ahead of the prestigious international event.

The visa refusal follows Lamichhane’s recent exoneration in a high-profile legal case, after which the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) swiftly reinstated him to the national team, affirming his eligibility for international competition.

Responding to queries, a spokesperson from the US Embassy in Kathmandu refrained from commenting on individual visa cases due to confidentiality under US law. However, the spokesperson expressed enthusiasm for Nepal’s men’s national cricket team, the Rhinos, participating in the T20 World Cup, emphasizing the embassy’s support for the team’s endeavors.

Furthermore, the spokesperson clarified that the US Embassy and other consular posts globally have been actively facilitating visa processes for members of national cricket teams qualifying for the tournament, ensuring timely travel arrangements for their participation.