Cambodia is the newest nation to be bowled over by the charms of cricket. The Kingdom is now ready to embrace the glorious game of uncertainties with the official launching of the Cambodia Cricket Association in Phnom Penh last Saturday.
France host Bosnia in a game wA subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based Technology company is behind this drive to introduce cricket in a country where at best it is an odd weekend fun for some enthusiastic expats and is totally alien to the native population.
Rudrapriya Sports, a well known cricket equipment distributor operating from Hong Kong, will be leading a concerted effort to spread cricket across the kingdom in a phased manner.
Rudrapriya Sports is a unit of Vinayakam Technologies Ltd, run predominantly by Indian enterprise.
The initiative by Rudrapriya Sports has been spurred by the formation of the Cricket Association of Cambodia (CAC), with Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, unanimously chosen as the president at a meeting of Phnom Penh’s small cricket community.
The Director of Rudrapriya Sports, Manish Sharma, who is based in Hong Kong has been named as the vice-president. An Viravudh (Cambodia) will function as the secretary general, while Ms Tay Lida (Cambodia) will manage the finances as treasurer. The three committee members are Effy Puji Lestari (Indonesia), Kiran Desai (India) and Kain Sothea (Cambodia).
After the formation of the Cricket Association of Cambodia, Rudrapriya Sports signed a three-year agreement with CAC’s parent body, the NOCC, to promote the game in the country. NOCC Secretary General Vath Chamroeun and Director of Rudrapriya Sports Manish Sharma initialled the accord, paving the way for the first over to be bowled in this long innings.
Later addressing a media conference, Vath Chamroeun said he was delighted to bring cricket to Cambodia. “People here watch a lot of cricket on the Indian channels we get here. But the local people do not know much about the game.
“We need to educate the public on this game which is so popular in countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”
Rudrapriya Sports has named Lal Jayasinghe, a Sri Lankan who is now coaching in Hong Kong, as the head of the promotional effort. Lal Jayasinghe, a Cricket Australia level 3 coach, has coaching experience of more than 20 years.
“We take this as a challenge. We know it is a tough task but we are prepared for it. I am confident within the next three years we can get a good grassroots program in place. Our thrust will be schools,” said Manish Sharma.
To mark this historic first step, a tennis ball cricket tournament for four teams formed from among Indian, Pakistani, Australian and Sri Lankan expats living and working in Phnom Penh was held at the Old Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The prize on offer was a glittering trophy, the Rudrapriya Challenge Cup.