Sandeep made his IPL debut against RCB on Saturday Image: Twitter
Saturday's IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) may have boasted of some huge stars such as Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and some upcoming sensations like Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Prithvi Shaw, but the main attraction of the match turned out to be 17-year-old Sandeep Lamichhane from Nepal.
The leg-break googly bowler put a solid performance on his debut and returned with figures of 1/25 in his four overs. The teenager earned his maiden scalp in the shape of experienced opener Parthiv Patel.
What was even more impressive was Sandeep's ability to keep the likes of Kohli and ABD contained when they were in full flow. His team may have lost the match eventually but Sandeep walked away with fans' hearts. Here are a few facts about the up and coming star.
1. Sandeep is the first-ever player from Nepal to play a match in the IPL and by default, the first-ever Nepalese bowler to take a wicket in the world's premier T20 league. The 17-year-old was picked up by Delhi Daredevils during the IPL auction for Rs 20 lakh.
2. Sandeep hails from Sauraha in the remote Chitwan province of Nepal and was unearthed by Nepal coach Pubudu Dassanayake when he took a small pit stop while travelling to the wedding of another Nepal international Basant Regmi. He was only 14 at the time.
3. Sandeep made his unofficial senior team debut aged just 15 and immediately impressed Hong Kong wicketkeeper Scott McKechnie. He rallied for the youngster to be recruited for Kowloon Cantons at the inaugural Hong Kong T20 Blitz.
4. While playing in Hong Kong in 2016, Sandeep's talent was spotted by former Australian captain Michael Clarke. Clarke invited Sandeep to play club cricket in Sydney and has acted as a mentor ever since.
5. 2016 also marked Sandeep's grand entry into the international scene with the U19 World Cup in Bangladesh. He ended up as Nepal's leading wicket-taker with 14 scalps in six games, including a five-for against Ireland which included a hat-trick.
6. In 2018, Sandeep impressed again in the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division Two in Namibia, which earned Nepal a spot in the World Cup Qualifiers for only the second time in their history. He ended with 17 wickets, which earned him the Player-of-the-Tournament title.
7. Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged Sandeep's feat in a recent speech in Kathmandu. “Today, we are connected by cricket as a Nepali boy is a part of Indian Premier League. This connection with cricket will strengthen our people to people ties & I hope there are more sports through which we can connect,” Modi said in his address.
8. Sandeep has also been drafted in for the Carribean Premier League (CPL) by St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
9. Sandeep had to sit out the first 11 matches of the IPL 2018 season, but it was his hard work in the nets which earned him a call-up to the first team. “He keeps on bowling. I get worried he might tire himself out. I need to keep a watch on him," DD coach Ricky Ponting said in a recent interview.
10. The teenager has already played in 21 List A matches, taking 42 wickets at an average of 17.90.