A couple of days ago, Sikkim captain, Nilesh Lamichaney, scored a century against Arunachal Pradesh in a Vijay Hazare Trophy fixture, becoming the first cricketer from the state to do so. And on Monday, his feat was appreciated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

While inaugurating Sikkim’s first airport at Pakyong, Modi heaped praises on the state’s cricketers. “How the country is changing! Sikkim was known for football, everyone plays the game (football) here. But that state is now trying its hands in cricket as well. I read in the newspapers that the captain, Nilesh Lamichaney, has scored a century. If coming from Sikkim, a state which played football, he (Lamichaney) can score a century in cricket, then the airport here also becomes the hundredth airport in the country.” Modi said.

Lamichaney, who is leading the state side in its first-ever List A tournament, is elated to have caught the attention of the Prime Minister. “I am on cloud nine. It feels amazing when the Prime Minister of the country mentions your name and I am grateful to Sikkim Cricket Association chief, Lobzang Tenzing and secretary Sonam Palden Bhutia, who was also my first U-16 coach, for giving me the opportunity and keeping faith in me,” Lamichaney told  Sportstar .

The 26-year-old has previously played in age-group tournament of the BCCI, and it is the love for the game that made him work hard. A few years back, he headed to Bengaluru for a job, but it’s been a while since he is back home in Sikkim and works with the state horticulture department.

Sikkim Cricket Association president, Tenzing, said that this will inspire the young cricketers of the state. “After football, cricket will be the most followed sport in the state and we are working hard for that,” Tenzing told this publication.