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cricket:image:1396032 [900x506] (Credit: Associated Press)

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Sandeep Lamichhane's prospects of making the T20 World Cup 2024 received a jolt after he was denied a US visa. ESPNcricinfo had reported last week that he was in line to be considered for Nepal's squad for the T20 World Cup, to be played in the USA and the West Indies from June 1, after he had been acquitted of rape charges.

"And the @USEmbassyNepal did it again what they did back in 2019, they denied my Visa for the T-20 World Cup happening in USA and West Indies. Unfortunate. I am sorry to all the well wishers of Nepal Cricket," Lamichhane posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday.

The last date for boards to submit their final squads to the ICC is May 25. ESPNcricinfo tried reaching out to Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) but is yet to receive a response about their future course of action. Lamichhane had picked up nine wickets in the T20 World Cup Asia Qualifiers last year, the most for Nepal, and that sealed their spot for the tournament proper.

Nepal's provisional squad is already in the Caribbean and has been training in St Vincent. They will soon travel to the USA for their two warm-ups on May 27 and 30 against Canada and USA respectively, both in Dallas. Their first match in the main event is on June 4 against Netherlands in Dallas.

Last week, the Patan High Court in Nepal acquitted Lamichhane of rape because of "a lack of evidence", allowing him to resume playing cricket with immediate effect. "Since the high court has cleared Sandeep Lamichhane from all the allegations, he is now cleared to play all forms of cricket," a CAN spokesperson had said then.

On January 10, a single-judge bench of the Kathmandu court had found Lamichhane guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman and sentenced him and also fined him approximately USD 2255, ordering him to pay approximately USD 1500 in compensation to the victim. On the following day, CAN suspended him.

In early September 2022, Lamichhane, then the Nepal captain, was suspended by CAN for the first time after an arrest warrant was issued against him in Kathmandu over the matter. It followed the news that a complaint against Lamichhane had been lodged in a Kathmandu police station.

At the time, Lamichhane was in the West Indies with Jamaica Tallawahs taking part in CPL 2022. The club announced that Lamichhane would be leaving the tournament with immediate effect. Upon landing at the airport in Kathmandu in early October, he had been taken into custody.

He returned to the Nepal side in February last year - amid protests from rights groups at home - for a Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series at home, against Namibia and Scotland, during which opposition players did not greet him before or after the games.

Subsequently, he 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.