Thinley Namgay

The national women’s cricket team is using the Indian Embassy’s cricket ground at Hejo for the month of August to practice for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) Women’s Asia qualifier in Malaysia in November.   

The practice session at Hejo began yesterday.   

According to embassy officials, the assistance was to celebrate the common love for cricket between India and Bhutan. 

Players will also attend yoga classes from a yoga teacher at Nehru-Wangchuck Cultural Centre, KVSSN Murthy.   

Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, Ruchira Kamboj, said she is delighted that the Indian Embassy is able to play a small role in helping girls train for the International Cricket World Cup. “They are an absolute inspiration for the youth of Bhutan.” 

The 11 national women’s cricket team players and officials from Bhutan Cricket met with the ambassador yesterday.  

President of Bhutan Cricket, Thinley Wangchuk Dorji, said that the Indian ambassador has always been a generous supporter of cricket in Bhutan.  

He said the support would motivate the players and enhance the much-needed skills and confidence for the upcoming competition.  

The tournament in Malaysia is a precursor to the 2022 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup to be held in New Zealand in 2022. Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, China, Hongkong, Myanmar, Nepal will also participate in the tournament.  

The 29-year-old skipper, Yeshey Choden, said the girls practised at the Gelephu cricket ground for four months. “But we couldn’t continue the regular practice at Gelephu due to incessant rainfall.  After reaching Thimphu, we trained at Jigmethang, which is the only cricket ground in the capital.”  

From September, regular training will resume at Gelephu.   

Yeshey Choden said the girls show passion in cricket. She said that a 15-year-old player discontinued her studies after class X to play cricket. “We also have one college student and she confirmed that she would skip her studies this year.” 

Press Officer of the Bhutan Cricket, Tandin Wangchuk, said that the main challenge for the cricket growth in Bhutan was the lack of quality ground. “But now, Gelephu’s international cricket ground has become operational and Bhutan could host an international tournament in Gelephu.” 

Currently, all 11 players are kept on a 10-month contract basis, which is extendable. 

Tandin Wangchuk said that Bhutan Cricket would hire an international coach and also build a cricket stadium at Ramtokto. 

Meanwhile, the team made its international debut at the 2009 ACC Women’s T20 Championship in Malaysia. 

Edited by Tashi Dema