Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane
Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane Image Credit: AP

Kathmandu: Former Nepal cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane appealed against his eight-year prison sentence for rape on Thursday and was permitted to remain out of jail while the case proceeds.

Lamichhane was once the poster boy for cricket in Nepal and the leg-spinner's on-field success had boosted the sport's profile in the Himalayan republic.

The 23-year-old was convicted of the rape of a young woman in December and sentenced the following month.

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"We have filed an appeal against the court's decision," his lawyer Saroj Ghimire told AFP.

Ghimire said an application for Lamichhane to remain out of custody while the appeal was heard had been accepted.

Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League, after an arrest warrant was issued in 2022.

He was dismissed as national captain and arrested but Nepal lifted his playing ban after he was freed on bail.

This allowed him to remain on the national team, including for the World Cup qualifiers and the 2023 Asia Cup.

Lamichhane was a major part of this rise as the most sought-after Nepali cricketer in lucrative T20 franchise leagues around the world.

His big break came when he was snapped up for the Indian Premier League, the world's richest cricket tournament, in 2018.