Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Focus on women and new initiatives as cricket development gains momentum

As cricket development gains momentum throughout the country, the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) is trying to come up with new initiatives and programmes to enhance its growth.

So far, the sport has already spread to more than a hundred schools across the country, making cricket one of the fastest growing in the country. To ensure that the sport and growth go well, the BCA is now infusing in new programmes, training coaches and creating new competitions while at the same time trying to ensure that the women’s side of the sport is not left behind.

As part of this, the BCA will, starting next Friday, host a four-nation tournament for the local Under 19 and Under 13 women’s teams. The tournament, which will be held at the BCA Oval will be played over three days and will come to an end on Sunday.

According to the BCA Chief Executive Officer, Girish Ramakrishna, the tournament will pit the local ladies against teams from Namibia, Swaziland and Mozambique, while in the Under 13 category, Botswana will play a series of games against Namibia.

“While this is termed an under 19 tournament, the reality is all players that will take part are under the age of seventeen (17). We are trying to empower our lady cricketers as the women’s cricket is gaining momentum worldwide,” the BCA CEO said in an interview.

He says to ensure that women’s cricket grows as much as men’s cricket, they are under the new development programmes ensuring that both boys and girls train together.

He says the reasoning behind this is to ensure that the girls grow to be as competitive for the sport as much as the boys.

Meanwhile, the BCA has launched a new programme to teach primary school children about the shorter version of the game. The programme has been launched at Francistown and Ramakrishna says it is gaining popularity among young boys and girls.

Dubbed action cricket and targeting children under the age of eleven, the new programme sees participants trying to score as many runs as possible in limited overs, with kids encouraged to hit ‘fours and sixes’. The BCA CEO says so far, four primary schools, which are Satellite Primary, Mophato Primary, Pelotshwaana Primary and Tati Town Primary, are the ones taking part in this pilot programme. He says the hope is that the new programme will lay foundation for mass participation in school cricket while also getting the young ones to ‘adapt to the normal demands of the game’.

On other issues related to cricket development, the BCA conducted a two day teachers’ training seminar in Moshupa to bring teachers up to speed with the basics of the game. According to Ramakrishna, the course participants, who are expected to coach the sport at Primary school level, were taught the basic principles of batting, bowling and fielding.

“This was an orientation programme for teachers and, as such, there were no certificates given out. However, we will be watching how they progress and they will in future be considered for upgrading courses,” the BCA CEO added.

He says as BCA, they are now targeting improving the skills and knowledge of the teachers as ‘it is essential that the coaches, as the people who will impart knowledge, should themselves be knowledgeable and passionate if the kids are to be interested’.

The course, which was attended by eleven participants ended this past Thursday.

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