Nepal cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane on Friday denied allegations that he raped a 17-year-old girl and said he would go home to fight his case.
A Nepali court has issued an arrest warrant for the 22-year-old, who is playing in the Caribbean Premier League, and he has been suspended from his leadership position.
In a statement on his social media channels, Lamichhane wrote: "I am INNOCENT & keep complete belief in the respectable laws of Nepal.
"I have decided to take a leave from CPL and go back to my country within few days.
"I am ready to face all these baseless allegations. May justice be served to the innocent & right investigation to be done towards everyone involved. "Hope the law acts equal to everyone."
Lamichhane is a poster boy for the rise of cricket in Nepal, which gained one-day international status in 2018 but remains a long way from contesting a World Cup.
The leg-spinner's big break came when he was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals for the lucrative Indian Premier League in 2018 and he has since been the most sought-after Nepali cricket player in international T20 leagues.
He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to pay his victim compensation.
About 2,300 rape cases were reported in Nepal in the last fiscal year, according to police, but rights workers say many more assaults go unreported.