Men’s cricket team set to play ACC Challenger Cup in Thailand

The senior men’s cricket team will head to Thailand for the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Challenger Cup. The group stage of the tournament is scheduled to start on Thursday, with Bhutan facing off against Indonesia in its first match. In preparation for the tournament, they played nine practice matches against local clubs from Assam, India. Bhutan last won the ACC Challenger Cup in 2018.

The men’s cricket team is back practising at the Thimphu Indoor Cricket Academy after a preparation tour lasting over a week in Mangaldai, Assam.

The list of 14 players selected to represent the country was announced earlier this month. Vice-captain Rangjung Mykyo Dorji says the team is ready for the challenge ahead.

“The mood in the camp is very confident. The Assam tour helped us build confidence. We performed well there, so everyone is pumped up for the tournament. Hopefully, we can showcase the confidence we gained from Assam in the tournament.”

He added that Bhutan’s batting, which has been an issue in previous tournaments, is now better than before.

“This is the first time Bhutan’s batting is looking stronger than the bowling. So, I am pretty sure the batters are going to perform well this time.”

The 14-member squad consists of only three senior players, which the head coach says is an advantage.

“It is a good team combination where juniors are emerging, and seniors are there to guide them. It is a valuable experience for the young players to learn from the seniors. In this team, the seniors play a vital role. They guide the players, clarify their roles and responsibilities, and demonstrate how they can contribute to the team,” said Kencho Norbu, head coach.

Bhutan is placed in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Group B consists of Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and the Maldives.

Following the opening match against Indonesia on Thursday, Bhutan will face Saudi Arabia on February 2nd, followed by the winner of the qualifier two days later.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals. The team is scheduled to depart for Thailand on Tuesday.

The finalists of the ACC Men’s Challenger Cup will not only secure their spots in the Premier Cup but will also move closer to the ultimate goal, the Men’s Asia Cup.

In addition, Dorji, one of Bhutan’s elite umpires, will officiate in the tournament.

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