IPL's loss is Worcestershire's gain as Nepali sensation Sandeep Lamichhane signs for Blast

Mystery legspinner Sandeep Lamichane will play in the Blast this year

Tony Bishop

Sandeep Lamichhane may have missed out in the IPL auction, but Worcestershire will be hoping that the mystery leg spinner from the foothills of the Nepalese Himalayas will help them hit the heights in the T20 Blast this year.

Discussing the arrival of the young 20-year-old from Syanga, the county's head coach Alex Gidman clearly feels he will do just that: "Sandeep has played in many tournaments and gained a lot of experience in franchise cricket".

"He's a leg spinner, which is a bit of mystery spin we believe we need in our squad in terms of balance, so we are ecstatic with the signing.

"We believe and trust that we have got an excellent squad of players ourselves, and it's about adding to that squad, rather than getting players to replace players, and add to the balance of the team, which we think we've done well.

"This is his first taste of playing in England, and I'm sure he will do well and have an enjoyable summer with us.

So, what can English fans expect and what do Worcestershire's opponents need to be wary of?

Blessed with a wristy action that can push the ball through and generate sharp turn with leg break and googly, he can magic up a number of variations in speed and flight to bamboozle the most experience batsmen.

Discovered as a 14-year-old by then Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake during a pit stop in the remote Chitwan Province on the way from Kathmandu to left-arm spinner Basant Regmi's wedding, Lamichhane has continued to make the most of good fortune at every opportunity to come his way.

Worcester Rapids fans will certainly be encouraged by his figures. The 20- year-old has played for numerous T20 franchises around the world including Delhi Daredevils in the IPL and Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash and has taken 125 wickets in 96 T20 games at an average of 18.86.

He was snapped up in the 2018 IPL auction at the tender age of 17 for INR 20 lakh ($31,000approx) . His first steps on the international stage came at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh where he was Nepal's leading wicket-taker with 14 in six games including a five-for against Ireland.

Soon after, he made his senior-team debut against Namibia in the WCL Championship and was a regular throughout the tournament. So far in 21 T20 senior internationals for Nepal, he's snagged 34 wickets at extremely frugal average of 14.51, an economy rate of 6.51 and a very healthy strike rate of 13.41, with a best of four for 21. He joins Australian paceman Ben Dwarshuis at New Road, the Rapids' other overseas player for this year's competition.

Proof that the Blast has the power to attract some great global talent and will provide fantastic entertainment for cricket fans and families that can count to 120 and prefer a healthy diet of pears to salty snacks.

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