Bhutan, beset by difficult cricketing weather, with limited and small playing grounds and with no turf wickets are nevertheless on the verge of an upturn in performance and fortunes. A new full-sized ground at Gelephu is in the planning stages, a new Bhutan Cricket Council Board Development Coach from Sri Lanka Shanaka Fernando has been appointed, and a fresh back of coaches has been created. "Given their limited resources Bhutan has come a fair way already, there's potential there and this new ground will definitely help them prepare better for international events," says ACC Development Officer for Bhutan Rumesh Ratnayake.

During his week-long visit to Bhutan in August, Rumesh overlooked the blueprints for the ground at Gelephu in Sarpang Province. The town (population 10,000) is in the southern part of Bhutan and thus provides a more temperate climate than capital Thimphu where much of the cricket is currently played. Plans for the ground have been formulating since 2007 and now, with ACC funding and some state and private sector support are finally coming to fruition. The Gelephu ground will be Bhutan’s first turf facility and over stages, will have indoor and outdoor nets, a pavilion and an academy building. “Bhutan have had to travel to Sri Lanka and Thailand to prepare for tournaments before which isn’t ideal, this ground will be a big boost to all the country’s cricket,” says Rumesh.

During his visit to Bhutan Rumesh also took the latest batch of Bhutanese coaches aspiring to ACC Level I certification through a three-day course in Thimphu. 17, including four women and made up of national players, school teachers and existing coaches took part in the course conducted by Rumesh and Damber Singh Gurung and other local coaches as assistants.

Pictures courtesy Bhutan Cricket Council Board

Bhutan Cricket Profile

Filed September 3rd, 2014