US Embassy denies visa to Nepali cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane ahead of T20 World Cup

Kathmandu: In a setback for Nepali cricket, the US Embassy in Kathmandu has declined to issue a visa to prominent cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane, who was slated to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup hosted by the United States and the West Indies. Lamichhane made the disclosure of the visa denial through a social media post on Wednesday afternoon, casting a shadow over his participation in the prestigious tournament.

The denial of Lamichhane’s visa is particularly perplexing as the other members of the Nepali cricket team have already arrived in the United States to commence preparations for the highly anticipated event. This development not only presents a personal challenge for Lamichhane but also poses a significant hurdle for the team’s readiness ahead of the crucial international tournament.

Lamichhane’s visa woes follow closely on the heels of his recent acquittal in a high-profile rape case. Subsequent to the court’s ruling, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) swiftly reinstated him to the national team, affirming his eligibility to represent Nepal at the international level.

Responding to inquiries, a spokesperson at the US Embassy in Kathmandu cited the confidentiality of visa records under US law and refrained from commenting on individual visa cases. However, the spokesperson expressed enthusiasm for Nepal’s men’s national cricket team, known as the Rhinos, participating in the T20 World Cup on American soil. The embassy officials had previously met with the team to offer support and encouragement before their departure. The spokesperson extended well wishes to the entire team for the forthcoming games.

Furthermore, the spokesperson clarified that the US Embassy in Kathmandu and other US consular ports worldwide have actively facilitated the visa application process to ensure that members of national cricket teams qualifying for the appropriate visa category can travel in time to compete in the World Cup.

Despite these efforts, Lamichhane’s visa denial underscores the complexities and challenges associated with international travel and sporting events amidst stringent visa regulations.