Three years after cricket was first played in Paro, a town 30 kilomretres from Bhutan’s capital Thimphu, the first ever school tournament has just been played in the region. “The tournament should have been done before but due to lack of a proper playing surface and unavailability of coach to the school, we had a tough time and this year after being informed to school teacher who have attended the Level O Bhutan Cricket Council Board Coaching course, they have initiated and worked really hard to form a Juniors U-13 team”, says Sonam Phuntsho, the Paro District Cricket co-ordinator.

Conditions were difficult too, the tournament being played in the rainy season but a start had to be made this year in order to grow the game in the future. Six schools are taking part in the Twenty20 format tournament which is being played in the small Rinpung Dzong Ground (a dzong is a fortified monastery that also serves as an administrative centre).

Umpires have also been trained in the basics over a two-day intensive course conducted by local coach Ugyen Dorji. Enthusiasm has been high and there has been plenty of talent on show too. Paro schools will have an U-15 tournament in the months ahead.

An aerial view of the Rinpung Dzong ground


Post-rain ground maintenance

Pictures courtesy Bhutan Cricket Council Board

Related: Bhutan Country Profile

Filed June 02, 2009