Pakistan’s Mahmood Rashid, national coach of Iran, passing on some home truths to Mozhdeh Bavanpour

In the long history of Kurdistan (Kordestan) province, cricket has somehow not featured at all. That omission is being corrected by the Iran Cricket Association with their latest coaching program in the north-west of the country. 20 high-school students have gathered in a gymnasium in Kurdistan to be taken through the basics by national coach Mahmood Rashid and by Mozhdeh Bavenpour.

“It’s good to see a new region and some fresh cricketers being introduced to the game,” says AC Development Officer for Iran Iqbal Sikander. Neighbouring Kermanshah, where Ms. Bavenpour is from, has had cricket activity since 2007 and is a source for several of Iran’s women cricketers. “There are a number of dedicated coaches in Iran and their work is inspiring on so many levels. Iran have always had very competitive cricketers and when you consider the conditions from which they come, to do so well in ACC tournaments is very creditable,” says Iqbal.

Iran cricket, having regrouped themselves in alignment with their National Sports Council, and having evolved from the Iran Baseball-Cricket Federation into the Iran Cricket Association is on an upward trajectory. Iran already has more women coaches, umpires and players than any other Middle East country. The women, playing their first tournament since 2009, just missed out on a semi-final place in the 2013 ACC Women’s Championship and the (mostly very young) men finished fifth in the ACC Trophy Challenge at the end of 2012.

Kurdistan’s landscape may well be hilly, but in sport, coaches say, it is attitude that determines altitude. Iran, in heading upcountry, has discovered a fresh source of talent.

Iran Cricket Profile
Iran’s Monir Habibi Wins Global Development Award

Filed March 12th, 2013