Thinley Namgay   

Bhutanese under (U)-19 cricket team is currently training at the Gelephu cricket ground for their upcoming ICC U-19 World Cup Asia Qualifiers in Oman.

Coach Anton Trishane Nonis has been grilling the boys, who are aged between 15 and 17, since last month and will continue until September 18.

In Gelephu, besides the training, the boys will play matches against some experienced players to build confidence.

The tournament will begin on September 27 and the 17-member squad, consisting of 14 players and three officials, will leave the country a week ahead of the competition.

Bhutan, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia are in group A. Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore and Thailand are in group B.

Bhutan will face host Oman on September 29 at the Oman Cricket Academy Ground.

Bhutan Cricket selected the current squad, 14  players, from a 50-over club tournament in Thimphu earlier this year.

Their training had to be delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bhutan Cricket’s CEO Damber S Gurung said:  “It’s hard to judge how well the team is doing at the moment. After two and a half years of pandemic and the fact that most of the players have not played cricket.

“I would say they are doing their best to learn and prepare for the tournament.”

He said that cricket was an educational game and that it took time to improve technique. “That’s why we do not look at the result now, we want to allow our young players to learn and develop.”

Of the 14 players, most are new and only a few have played in the U-16 international tournament.

Damber S Gurung said that the main focus right now was on developing the skills of the players.

The winner of this tournament gets to play in the World Cup.  The tournament will end on October 7.