After eight (8) years at the helm, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Girish Ramakrishna has finally stepped down after his term came to an end.
Ramakrishna, who joined the BCA full time as the head of its Secretariat in February 2010 stepped down at the end of June after overseeing a period of great growth for local cricket. Under his leadership, grass root development of cricket in the country has reached 350 schools and 17 000 students, a great leap for a sporting code once mentioned amongst the least popular in the country.
Narrating his journey at the helm of the BCA, Ramakrishna, who is currently winding up his business at the BCA oval, said ‘it had been an interesting one right from the start when he joined full time.’
“Ever since I joined cricket full time in 1st February 2010 I have played an instrumental role in its development and retaining of those who were developed,” Ramakrishna said.
He further said he has learned quite a lot throughout the journey especially that he had ventured into a new route in life.
“When I joined cricket only 4 schools were actively participating in the sport, am proud to say with the help of my team we did extremely well,” he added.
He said, “From my past experiences, cricket develops children in different ways especially that it is a team and family sport, brings about different desirable qualities in kids such as leadership and motor skills which are vital for them.”
“The kids have reacted well to the sport and I believe they will keep learning and playing the sport at all times. For kids the sport is fun to play hence the need for them to be developed as young as primary school level so that they grow into the competitive game,” he said.
On the challenges he faced, Ramakrishna said his biggest challenge had been to try get active participation from teachers, who he said are the key players in teaching youngsters cricket.
“Normally we hold courses for teachers in schools so that they can be able to pass it to the students; problem arises when those same teachers transfer to other schools and it is the end of cricket in that particular school,” the former BCA CEO said.
In such circumstances, Ramakrishna said they would had to tutor another teacher, a process which took time as well as resources.
Another major challenge for the BCA was the financial constraints, a problem faced by all of the country’s sporting codes.
“Funding will always be a problem for many sporting codes in the country, in my case we needed to expose the athletes to competitive games, that means more resources and more money,” he lamented.
“We have advertising boards and brochures that try assist in curbing or reducing our financial needs, we put them up especially during major tournaments. At times we had to find individual sponsors and it had always proved helpful,” he added.
Answering a question on the current state of cricket, Ramakrishna had this to say “It is at an exciting stage, we have reached a level where we took the sport to Batswana, it is well known in rural areas as well.”
He further highlighted that Botswana has lots of talent that needs to be unearthed and nurtured so that they can play for the national teams.
“I am not leaving this office a sad man because I know the board will appoint someone capable, a person whose ambition is to improve the game, take it several steps ahead of where it is currently,” he added.
While he is quitting as the BCA CEO, Ramakrishna said he will not be lost to Botswana cricket and will always be available to help when called to do such.
“I still remain in the cricket board, also I am still with Africa Cricket Association as the development Director, hence will still be around to assist where I am needed,” he concluded.