The Bahrain Cricket Federation (BCF) has chalked out a comprehensive plan to enable the kingdom’s Under-19 team ramp up its preparation for the qualifying tournament for the 2024 edition of the ICC Men’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup, a board official said yesterday.
“The world cup qualifiers will be held in September,” BCF advisory board chairman Mohammed Mansoor told the GDN. “So, in order to ensure that our young cricketers have the best chance of qualifying, the BCF’s head of cricket development, Aashish Kapoor, held a trial last month to select a pool of 30 players. That pool is being trained by our coaches according to a structured plan, which involves an equal focus on fitness, skills, fielding drills and game scenarios.”
Also, he added, 14 players were sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April to play six 50-over, one-day matches.
“Bilateral series will be a crucial part of the team’s preparation,” Mansoor explained. “They help not just in terms of rankings but also, because of the exposure the players get. That is why, in July, the under-19 squad will travel to Uganda to play in a bilateral series.”
Formerly known as the Bahrain Cricket Association, the BCF was rebranded and reconstituted in late-2021. It has since embarked on a structured, nuanced plan to develop the game from the grassroots by introducing school competitions, setting up different age-level, and other, tournaments for both genders and launching a drive to increase the participation of more locals in the sport.
The next step, Mansoor said, would be the construction of a proper cricket stadium for which land had already been promised to the BCF by Supreme Council for Youth and Sport first deputy chairman, General Sports Authority chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“His generous support and encouragement has been key in enabling the rapid progress we’ve been able to make in such a short span of time,” Mansoor added. “So, once we have a proper cricket ground, the game will progress even more.”
The BCF had also been approached by private investors who were keen to help the board build a couple or more cricket grounds, he revealed.
“We’re currently hunting for locations for those proposed grounds,” Mansoor said. “Once we have two or three international standard cricket stadiums, we will be in a position to hold ICC tournaments here. Those will lead to a host of positives: the economy will benefit from this kind of sports tourism, for example.”