The Melbourne Stars announced the signing of Nepal’s star leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane as an international players for the Big Bash League 2018 season.

Sandeep will join the Stars from the commencement of the season, and will be available for approximately half the season pending his commitments with Sylhet Sixers in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), returning in time for the February fixtures and BBL Finals.

He will be the first player from an Associate country to play as international signing in the BBL. Sandeep, however, has experience of playing grade cricket – the Sydney Premier League – in Australia in 2016, when he was mentored by Michael Clarke.

Sandeep had left for Australia immediately after the completion of matches of ICC World Cup T20 Asia Region Selection ‘B’ held in Malaysia recently. Replacing Sandeep during his BPL stint will be Matt Parkinson, a talented 21 year old leg-spinner with impressive first-class and T20 bowling statistics from his time at Lancashire, England.

The young Nepal player said he was excited to join his Delhi team mate, Glenn Maxwell, and the rest of the Stars in Melbourne this summer. “I am delighted to be joining the Stars, it has always been a dream to play on the MCG. I am very excited to join the team,” said Sandeep.

Sandeep has already played in the Indian Premier League, Caribbean Premier League and Afghanistan Premier League this year. The spinner played three matches for Ricky Ponting’s Delhi Daredevils (five wickets at 16.40, economy of 6.83); a further five for St Kitts and Nevis in the CPL (seven wickets at 15.14) and a match for Nangarhar Leopards (4-0-23-2).

Melbourne Stars list manager, Trent Woodhill, was tasked with searching the world for exciting new talent and was thrilled to secure both young superstars, including the first player from an Associate country to play in the BBL.

“I first saw Sandeep bowl for Nepal in the Asian U19 Championships in Malaysia and was immediately impressed by both his skill as a wrist spinner and also his energy. I watched Matt bowl for Lancashire in the Vitality Blast this season where he helped them reach the semi finals with some dominant performances,” said Woodhill.

Despite his age, Sandeep has already impressed on the world stage gaining contracts in various T20 competitions including the IPL, CPL, Global T20 Canada and the BPL this year.

“Lamichhane had a successful IPL debut for Delhi and bowled well in the CPL. We have high expectations that he will light up the BBL and become a star of the tournament,” said Woodhill.

Melbourne Stars CEO, Clint Cooper, said the Club was pleased that the new BBL rules around overseas replacement players allowed the Stars to secure two young players who could quickly become fan favourites.

“The increased flexibility with contracting overseas players this summer has provided us a great opportunity to showcase some of the world’s best up and coming talent. Wrist spinners have dominated T20 tournaments worldwide and we expect our new recruits along with our frontline leggie, Adam Zampa, to have a big impact this season, said Cooper.