Preparation underway as Bhutan’s women cricket squad gets ready for World Cup Asia Qualifier in Malaysia

National women’s cricket team was formed in 2008

After being restricted to her home in Samtse for more than a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, national women’s cricket captain Dechen Wangmo, 28, admits that she had never felt so unsure about the future.

With the 10-month trainings of the High-Performance Program (HPP) having had started for the national women cricket squad at the Gelephu International Cricket Ground (GICG) in February, in preparation for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier in Malaysia, Dechen Wangmo has started going for run on the ground every early morning and is exultant that it has helped her to get back into a rhythm as she prepares along with her other teammates for the future tournament scheduled later this year.

Like Dechen Wangmo, there are other eight of them, who throng the GICG for training every morning.

According to the cricket captain, the other six of them are yet to regroup and see where they stand in terms of physical training and level of skills.

Eight players have signed contracts with the Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) as of now. Six more players are to be selected from Sarpang from the training camp of 14 members.

Food, accommodation, training attires, cricket equipment, cricket shoes, in-country travel allowance during the team’s travels for overseas tournaments are being looked after by the BCCB.

Leading up to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier to be played in Malaysia from November 13-24 this year, 14 players will be under the BCCB’s contract for the coming ten months.

According to the assistant coach of the national women’s cricket squad, Kumar Subba, the major challenge for their team would be in facing other opponents during the global qualifier tournaments.

“We must play with the best of our ability and ensure victory during every tournament,” he added.

According to the assistant coach, the HPP training is the main strategic plan for their players this time. They are putting efforts into their fitness to ensure to overcome opponents’ game scores beforehand.

He added that players are made known to every prototype and theory during the training. “We make sure that they know what they are going to do before the training.”

Meanwhile, women’s cricket captain Dechen Wangmo is optimistic with the training, which is currently underway.

She says every time she has a goal to become more fit or to lift a particular weight.

“With the different facilities that we have today, these things will motivate us, step by step, to again get close to our goal,” she said, adding there are different ways one can get motivated during different phases in life.

For her, practice helps, according to Dechen Wangmo.

Dechen Wangmo says it is time for the girls’ team in the domestic circuit to be given opportunities in the league to interact with international players.

“It will help them in understanding of the sport and the standard of international cricket and lead to a professional league,” she adds.

Meanwhile, the BCCB also has plans to tour the Indian states of Sikkim, Assam, and West Bengal for practice matches to prepare the women squad for the qualifiers.

The HPP training currently has the assistant coach, fitness trainer, and a physiotherapist.

According to the CEO of Bhutan Cricket, Damber S Gurung, they have already announced vacancy for the Head Coach and they have by now received more than 15 CVs from abroad.

“We will try getting the best coach who will put in 200% more than our players.”

“Looking at the current Covid-19 situation, we might not be able to carry out our programs as per our plan but the training must continue,” he added.

The HPP training is split into four phases – general preparatory, specific preparatory, pre-competition, and competition. Each phase is spread over a time frame of two months of activities covering up to eight months, while the last two months will involve stimulation exercises; thus making up for the ten-month training module.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu