New Delhi: Sandeep Lamichhane's is a lovely little story of a boy stepping into man's world with a dream in his eyes and desire to see his tiny nation on the global cricketing map.
With former Australian captain Michael Clarke's blessings and good wishes from the millions in Nepal, Lamichhane is going through the paces under Ricky Ponting at the Delhi Daredevils nets as he is slowly coming to terms with the gulf in standard between players from the Associate and full-member nation.
India's Gen-Next batsmen Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer were repeatedly depositing the 17-year-old leg-spinner into the stands. He is still a work in progress and unlikely to be played ahead of veteran Amit Mishra unless Ponting thinks otherwise.
Mishra himself looked overweight and out of form during the net session.
"I am learning the difference. I have got some experience during the three days at the nets. It's great to bowl to these quality batsmen. Some of the deliveries that can't be hit by batsmen from associate nations can be smashed by these players," Lamicchane said during a press conference.
Speaking to Lamichhane, comparisons can be drawn with some of the Bangladesh players of yesteryears -- the zeal to do well and crazy fans backing them.
"The ODI status that we recently got during the ICC World Cup Qualifiers will be a boost for our country. We were banned by the ICC (for government interference). We had a really up and down last two years. But our fans were like our 12th man. They even backed us during bad times. The more Nepal plays, the better we will get," Lamichhane said.
He thanked skipper Gautam Gambhir for his support. "Gautam Gambhir is known to back youngsters. He has shown a lot of warmth. Coach Ricky Ponting is a humble and kind man. It's a precious experience to be in a dressing room around with such legends. It fills you with positivity," he said.