Sandeep Lamichhane Nepal
Nepal has suspended leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane from domestic and international cricket after he was convicted for rape Sandeep's social media account

Nepal cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane is set to face a jail term of eight years for raping an 18-year-old woman. Lamichhane's lawyer Saroj Ghimire will reportedly appeal against the verdict in a "higher court".

The leg-spinner, who is not in custody as yet, was not present when the sentence was announced at the Kathmandu District Court on Wednesday (Jan. 10) through a single bench of Judge Shishir Raj Dhakal.

Former captain of the Nepal national team, Lamichhane, was found guilty of the offence last month. Apart from the jail term, Lamichhane has also been slapped with a fine of approximately £1,766, and has been told to pay approximately £1,175 as compensation to the victim.

The victim lodged an official complaint against the Nepalese cricketer in September 2022, accusing the high-profile player of rape in August 2021. After months of trial and investigation, Lamichhane was finally convicted of the crime on December 29, 2023. It was then decided that the degree of punishment would be announced on January 10, 2024.

On Thursday (Jan. 11), following the verdict, Lamichhane was suspended by the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN). "We inform you that Sandeep Lamichhane has been suspended from any kind of domestic and international cricket activities as he has been convicted and sentenced," CAN said.

Lamichhane, who made his international debut in 2018, was first suspended by CAN in early September 2021. This happened after the victim's accusations saw an arrest warrant issued against the spinner in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu over the matter.

At the time, the 23-year-old cricketer was in the West Indies with Jamaica Tallawahs taking part in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2022. The club announced that Lamichhane would be leaving the tournament with immediate effect. On reaching Kathmandu in early October, he was taken into custody.

Lamichhane returned to Nepal's national team in February last year despite protests from rights groups at home. His first appearance, following his arrest, was a Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series at home, against Namibia and Scotland. During the series, opposition players did not shake his hand after the games.

Even though Lamichhane made a return to competitive cricket, his movements were restricted. He was also banned from travelling abroad and had to inform the police in advance if he wished to leave Kathmandu.

Subsequently, the spinner was not considered for Nepal's squad for the Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Dubai in early 2023 but joined the team later as an injury replacement. He has continued to turn out for Nepal since then, including at the ODI World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe in June-July last year and the ODI Asia Cup in August-September this year.