Jigme Norbu (red shirt) with the Gelephu Lower School Principal in Sarpang

Sarpang is situated in southern Bhutan and consists of 14 gewogs (group of villages). Targeted by the Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) to become the next cricket centre, after the capital Thimphu, plans have been made to develop more grounds and nets to cater to the growing interest there.

The BCCB though are now finding it hard to carry out cricketing activities due to the lack of grounds and the growing popularity of the game. There are only two grounds being utilized for cricket in Thimphu, Jigmethang and Changlimithang, and neither of these grounds belong to the BCCB, both being government-owned.

Southern Bhutan is made up of plains, in marked contrast to the rest of the country. National Curator Ugyen Dorji, along with BCCB CEO Jigme Norbu and District Coordinator Tshering Dorji, have paid a three-day visit to Sarpang and also to Punaka District to assess ground conditions. "Flat land is hard to come by here and so in comparison to other countries, our grounds are quite small. For the development in Sarpang, Paro, Punaka and Wangdue districts, we have already advertised for a tender or quotation from a contractor in the newspapers in mid April", says Tshering Dorji.

"I am sure we will be getting a positive response soon. We have also advertised on the Bhutan Broadcasting Service for the whole of next week, our national radio and television service here in Bhutan. As soon as we get the tenders, things will move quickly in Sarpang. I am looking forward to have good facilities for BCCB," said Dorji.

Sarpang, Paro, Punakha and Thimphu are four of the 20 districts in Bhutan that have taken a keen interest in cricket - "a number that is rapidly growing", according to National Coaching Coordinator Damber Gurung. "My job is to make sure cricketing activities continue to take place here in Bhutan irrespective of the quality of the grounds. We will work hard and once the grounds are ready, we can have proper matches held for our schools and clubs," he says. A four-category school championship for classes 5 to 8 and an U-19 boys and girls tournament is set to start in Punakha next month.

Jigme Norbu (grey shirt) with some Gelephu cricketers

BCCB CEO Jigme Norbu is positive that Bhutan Cricket, after succeeding at ACC Challenge level in recent years, will continue moving forward. "Cricket development will continue despite drawbacks. There are many districts interested in cricket and if they have an interest, development will go ahead."

Paro On the Go in Bhutan
Bhutan Cricket Profile

Filed May 5th, 2010