Cricket in Mythical Land
Cricket in the valley of the home of the mythical Yeti
The pristine valley of Merak and Sakteng is one of the most remote places in the country and for ages the community has been closed to protect the unique cultural heritage of the Brokpa people.
The semi-nomadic Yak herders still believe that the mythical creature Yeti roams the valley and is an important part of the local culture. It was an exciting but challenging task for Bhutan Cricket to bring the sport of cricket to them as they were not sure about the interest and acceptance.
With red cheek, braided yak hair and blue rubber boots in traditional attire, Sonam Dorji is intrigued when he sees a cricket bat for the first time.
“With a smirk on his face, he said that the bat will be useful to use as kind of whips to provide directional guidance or to encourage movement animals”.
The 5-day journey from the capital Thimphu is full of adventure and winding roads crossing many majestic peaks and passes, which are food for the soul and a delight for the eyes. Bhutan Cricket has taken an initiative to bring cricket to the far east of Bhutan, Merak and Sakteng.
The ICC Criiio Cricket Program in Merak and Sakteng is a unique cricket clinic that aims to promote and introduce the game in two schools. These two schools, Merak Primary School and Sakteng Lower Secondary School, are among the few remote schools in Bhutan where such programs are not conducted.
In the hope of preserving the cricket culture in the valley, a plastic bat and ball were distributed to each participant, sponsored by UNICEF Bhutan. A total of 484 students and 26 teachers from both schools participated in the program.
It was considered one of the most successful programs initiated by Bhutan Cricket in recent years due to the travel involved and the location is over 3500 meters above sea level. Trekking through the pristine valley on foot and seeing the happy faces of the children holding bat and ball for the first time captured the idea of healthy development and success.