As part of the Cambodian Cricket Association’s “Catch Them Young” program, students from four well-known Phnom Penh schools are having their first lessons in the game of glorious uncertainties.
“Those who knew something about cricket were thrilled to bat, bowl and field, and those who knew nothing were just as curious to learn more,” CCA vice-president Manish Sharma, who has been imparting the basics to the schoolchildren over the past few weeks.
“The CCA is very happy with the response. It’s way too early to judge how cricket can spread its wings here, but we are encouraged by what we have seen so far.”
The schools project is the first promotional activity by CCA’s sole partner, Hong Kong-based cricket equipment distributor Rudrapriya Sports, a company Sharma represents as its director.
For cricket-loving students of the American Pacific School, the East West International School, the Hope International School and the Sovannaphumi School, the introduction of the game was a thrilling experience.
“It was a soft beginning. We just wanted the kids to know what cricket is all about and make them feel comfortable playing the game. Once they get keener, the learning process will be far quicker,” said Sharma, who is using his experience as a club cricketer to help the students through their first steps.
“We are looking for a qualified coach to take over this program in the next few months, during which we are adding four more schools,” he said.
School authorities have reacted favourably to the idea of introducing a new game.
“The children enjoyed learning about cricket,” East West International School principal Sandra Chipps said in an email response to Rudrapriya Sports.
Benjamin Margetts, head of the American Pacific School, said: “We were fortunate to host introductory cricket coaching. Students aged 10 to 12 from our school and the neighbouring Sovannaphumi School enjoyed playing a game that was new to them.
“We look forward to seeing their skills develop.”
Vath Chamroeun, CCA president and secretary-general of the National Olympic Comm-ittee of Cambodia, told the Post he had apprised the Asian Cricket Council of the launching of cricket projects here.
“I have already written to them [the ACC] in detail seeking support for our programs,” Vath Chamroeun said.
“I am happy that a start has been made, and I am also encouraged by the initial response.”