Thinley Namgay

The long-awaited dream of cricketers and their fans in the country has emerged with the inauguration of Bhutan’s first international standard cricket ground in Gelephu.    

The country didn’t have a suitable cricket pitch until now to train players for national and international competitions. The few training grounds in the capital are not user-friendly during peak summer and winter seasons. 

Many view that the new cricket ground is timely, as the standard of cricket in other SAARC countries such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are high and Bhutan could draw technical expertise from these neighbouring countries. 

Bhutan India Friendship Association Cup (BIFA Cup) was also launched during the inauguration of the ground

Gelephu International Cricket Ground is expected to enhance the skills of the cricketers and be able to compete internationally.   

His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC), inaugurated the ground on February 17. Imran Khawja, Deputy Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC),  and other international and national guests attended the event.  

President of Bhutan Cricket, Thinley Wangchuk Dorji said the ground would serve as a hub for local, national and international tournaments, and a training facility for the national team and the cricket-related programmes. “Plans for cricket tourism and veteran tournaments are also underway.” 

 Imran Khawja said that Bhutan was one of the ICC’s fastest-growing members of the international cricketing family. He said Bhutan’s participation at the ICC has increased 123 percent in the past five years.    

The new ground was constructed at a cost of around Nu 60M, funded by the Asian Cricket Council, ICC and the BOC. Its construction began in 2016.  

Coinciding with the inauguration ceremony, Bhutan India Friendship Association Cup (BIFA Cup) was launched where teams from India will compete with Bhutanese teams to enhance skills and foster friendship.   

A Differently-Abled Cricket programme was also launched to make cricket inclusive in the country.