Boosted by their performance in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 7 in June this year, where they finished champions, Bahrain are busy creating the conditions for sustained success.
The Bahrain Cricket Association (BCA) has recently established the Bahrain National Cricket Academy at Al Najma to prepare for upcoming tournaments held by the ACC and ICC.
The Academy, funded by the BCA with contributions from BCA officials will have two turf wickets in addition to the existing four cement and artificial turf wickets, and is expected to be ready by mid-August. Bowling machines, video analysis software, and gym equipment will also be installed to make the academy as player-centric as possible.
|The Bahrain National Cricket Academy being shepherded by M. Ali Abul in its early days last year|
There are further plans to build a stadium with funds raised through sponsors backing the success of the national team along with utilization of increased performance-based ACC and ICC Development Funding.
Bahrain were out of world cricket for a period as they sought to redefine themselves, now that they have, says national captain Yaser Sadeq, “Our goal is to keep working towards reaching the 2015 World Cup. We have the ability and the potential so nothing really is standing in our way. The only factor is how badly we want it and how hard we will work for it.”
|Yaser Sadeq lifts the WCL Division 7 Trophy ©ICC|
The outlook from the top of Bahraini cricket is good, national coach former Pakistan international Moshin Kamal says, “I think we have a very good team that is well-rounded in terms of batting and bowling. One concern is this sport depends on experience and training so we need to prepare the younger players to step into the shoes of the seniors. The youngest players we have are in their 20s and the rest are in their 30s. This is the average age.”
A view backed up by BCA Executive Committee President Ali Abul who says, “We have many people that play cricket in Bahrain but most are expatriates and many partake in the BCA league games that happen every Friday. We hope to recruit more Bahrainis though into the game.”
Bahrain are planning on touring Saudi Arabia and the UAE at the start of the season as preparation for the ACC Twenty20 Cup in November. The senior team’s next fixtures are in World Cricket League Division 6, where a top two finish takes them through to Division 5 in Nepal at the start of 2009 and further up the ladder towards a place in the 2015 World Cup. “These are exciting times for Bahrain,” says their ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake, “they have good momentum and confidence going into the rest of the year and really could come close to matching Afghanistan’s progress.”
Related: Bahrain Country Profile
Filed July 27th, 2009