Botswana Cricket Association (BCA)’s push to take the sport to Batswana has started paying off.
As part of the campaign, the BCA recently hosted an under 17 boys tournament where 36 young cricketers from across the lengths and breadth of the country were selected to be groomed for national team duties.
The young mentees, who comprised of primary students, were selected from as far as Selibe Phikwe, Francistown, Maun, Mochudi, Ramotswa, Molepolole, Thamaga and Gaborone.
BCA CEO Girish Ramakrishna described the tournament and selection process as a success. Different coaches were assigned to identify neophytes they felt had the potential to graduate to professional cricketers.
The BCA president said while it has not been an easy journey to undertake, the most important thing for them was to select fledglings that showed determination and dedication for the work.
He said, “We are glad that we managed. The process was promising as the standards of selection were above par; each coach came up with names they felt had the skill and potential to advance to the next level. From there we assessed those that were not in our individual reports then we would analyze their liability.”
Of the selected young cricketers, Ramakrishna said less than five were taken from private primary schools while the rest are from government schools. This underlies the main objective of the campaign, which is to make the sport accessible to ordinary people.
“The intention is to start training children as early as primary level, before they can be taken to zonal and regional level. We are talking about 14/17 year olds here that we want to mould,” he said.
Ramakrishna said they want to establish a national team out of these 36 selected students, and emotionally prepare them for the game. He further stated that they will be continually engaging the young boys in training.
“From now onwards, the team will prepare thoroughly, and all obstacles will be surmounted. All this is in preparation for the World Games in two years; we should be ready when that time comes. It will be Botswana’s time to shine and show the world that it is also part of the sporting code that Africans do not take much delight in,” the BCA CEO explained.
He also said they have an online broadcaster that they use all the time Cricket is played. It is said to be found in CricHQ, an application that can also be downloaded. “This is a way of bringing cricket to Batswana in the comfort of their homes or offices,” he added.
Meanwhile, as a way to endear the sport to the locals and to teach them how it is played, Ramakrishna says they have opened the BCA oval grounds gates for everyone interested in learning the game.
He says all those interested can come for training every Saturday from 9 till 12. Different coaches are available during these times and would be willing to pass on their skills.