Nepal’s cricket board lifted the suspension of its top player on Wednesday even as the Himalayan republic’s top law officer sought to have him sent back to custody on rape charges.

Sandeep Lamichhane is accused of raping a 17-year-old girl in a Kathmandu hotel room last August but was released on bail last month.

Cricket Association of Nepal president Chatur Bahadur Chand told AFP that the board decided Wednesday to allow the 22-year-old to return to the field.

“The board had taken disciplinary action against him and suspended him. The new decision to lift the suspension will allow him to play games,” Chand told AFP.

Nepal’s attorney general had a day earlier filed an appeal seeking Lamichhane’s return to custody because the decision to release him on bail was “flawed”, office spokesman Sanjiv Raj Regmi told AFP.

“We have asked the Supreme Court to overturn the high court’s decision,” Regmi said.

“An accused of any criminal offence that could lead to the prison term of more than three years must stay in custody.”

Lamichhane is a star spin-bowler and was the poster boy for cricket’s rising profile in mountainous Nepal, which gained one-day international status in 2018.

His big break came when he was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals for the money-spinning Indian Premier League in 2018, and he has since been Nepal’s most sought-after cricketer.

Authorities issued an arrest warrant against him in September while he was away playing in the Caribbean Premier League.

He returned and was arrested the following month and has maintained his innocence while fighting his pre-trial detention.

Lamichhane was suspended as Nepal’s cricket captain after the arrest warrant was issued.