Former Bhutan national coach Baba Sourjah has returned to the Thunder Kingdom after four years. Sourjah coached the national team from 2003 to 2006 and is in Thimphu for three weeks to train Bhutan’s coaches. He will also work with the Under-16 boys and the Under-19 girls teams.

A naturalized Sri Lankan who has lived in Australia since 1973, Mr. Sourjah is a Level III accredited coach and is currently the High Performance Coach with the South Brisbane District Cricket Club. He is “an amazing skills coach” according to ACC Development Officer for Bhutan Rumesh Ratnayake.

Sourjah showing some throwing techniques as national players looks on

“Baba is brilliant when it comes to his cricket drills. A real disciplinarian, he is given a lot of respect from the Bhutan cricketers and firmly believes that before you start playing cricket on the field, you must first begin off it,” says Mr. Ratnayake.

Slip catching practice

A day-to-day program has been drawn up by Mr. Sourjah and he has been working on the various drills with the coaches, under-16 boys and under-19 girls. “I am impressed by the under-19 girls. I work with women cricketers in Australia and these girls have good coordination and good running and training skills. They really can go far,” says Mr. Sourjah.

Speaking from Thimphu, Mr. Sourjah went on to say that if Bhutan wanted to develop their talent, they’d have to improve on their facilities and fast. “It is disappointing to see because when I was last here in 2006, Bhutan were maybe peaking. In 2007, a synthetic centre wicket and three nets were removed as the site was used for the function of the crowning of Bhutan’s new king.

“Now there are no more wickets and the level of cricket has dropped. This really hampers Bhutan’s progress. A bowling machine is just sitting here because without proper facilities it cannot be used,” he added. Off the six grounds available for practice in Bhutan, there are no turf pitches," said Bhutan's veteran coach.

Sourjah is optimistic of girls cricket in Bhutan

In his sessions, Mr. Sourjah first demonstrates various skill-building drills to the coaches and then guides the coaches as they work with the players. Almost all of the coaches he’s currently training are players in the national team.. Bhutan’s National Coaching Coordinator and National Coach Damber Gurung credits his cricketing knowledge and skills to his former coach. “He has such love for the country and cricket and has done a lot for all of us. There is so much confidence he inspires in us all and with his guidance and exercises, the cricketers of Bhutan are sure to benefit greatly.”

Baba Sourjah

Mr. Sourjah hopes to revisit Bhutan in the coming months and may also accompany the Under-16s to Malaysia for the ACC U-16 Challenge Cup in July.

All pictures courtesy of Bhutan Cricket Council Board

Bhutan Teaches More Teachers
Bhutan Cricket Profile

Filed May 1st, 2010