Bhutan’s Cricket Team has left for Malaysia on 14 July 2023 to compete in the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup Sub Regional Asia ‘B’ Qualifier from 24 July to 2 August.
Bhutan made its international debut in 2003, at an emerging nation’s tournament organized by the Asian Cricket Council. The team has since regularly participated in ACC tournaments, and also in two world cricket League events WCL Division Eight in 2010 and 2012.
The team’s youngest player is just 16 years old and the oldest 39 years old. There are many new players in the team, and they are paid Nu 7,500 per month to train.
Ugyen Dorji said, “As a coach, we have been pushing the players and they have been giving their 100 percent. We are not sure if we can win the game or not, but will give our best and make our country proud. Our mission is to play as one team and we will play good cricket and our vision is to win this match.”
The ICC T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier ‘B’ is more than just another match for the Bhutanese cricket team as it is a chance to make an imprint on the global cricket scene.
Namgay Thinley, 19, is the Vice-Captain of the team, and started his training in 2017 at the age of 13.
Namgay Thinley said, “It was my 5th time in an international crickets game, and I am really excited to have a match with the Myanmar team. For this tournament, we have physically and mentally prepared and practiced hard to win the match. We are not sure whether we will win the match or not, but we are hoping for our best.”
Leading the Bhutan team in an international tournament is Captain Suprit Pradhan, 39, a project manager of NDI project, DHI in Thimphu. He played his first cricket tournament with Nepal in 2011.
Suprit Pradhan said, “We are aware that we are bearing the aspirations and dreams of our country on our shoulders as we enter another ICC tournament. We hope to uplift and bring together our fellow Bhutanese with every boundary we hit and wicket we take in order to leave a legacy that will last for future generations.”
Even though the team faces challenges such as inadequate cricket facilities and practice matches, Suprit said it is a proud moment to represent Bhutan.
This is the qualification pathway for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. If Bhutan manages to win the current ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Asia ‘B’, then the team will play the regional qualifier in November 2023.