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Bhutan wants to establish itself as a premier destination for enthusiasts seeking a unique cricket experience.

Visitors can now enjoy the thrill of matches amid a backdrop of mountains and even play games on the highest cricket grounds in the world.

Cricket is one of the fastest growing sports in Bhutan with training facilities, infrastructure and tournaments spreading throughout the country, penetrating even remote areas such as Merak and Sakteng in the far east of the country.

The Bhutan Cricket Association conducts many school tournaments, grass root programs and coaching across the country. So far, the association has trained 60,000 people from youth to senior age, across 18 dzongkhags (districts), including 1,070 monks and 60 nuns.

The emergence of cricket dates back to 1999 when televisions were first introduced in the country, giving people the opportunity to watch the 1999 Cricket World Cup (hosted by England, won by Australia).

Gradually, the Bhutanese started to play in their local stadiums and even in various international tournaments. The country was accepted into the International Cricket Council in 2001 and today there are seven districts where the game is played.

The new Gelephu International Cricket Ground will soon be inaugurated, becoming the first in Bhutan to meet international standards.

“On behalf of the Bhutan Cricket Family, I extend a warm invitation to all cricket enthusiasts worldwide to join us in experiencing the joy of cricket amid the backdrop of Bhutan’s natural beauty,” said Damber Gurung, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bhutan Cricket Council Board.

“Every stroke of the bat and every delivery you bowl will transform into a unique and unforgettable cricketing experience in the majestic Himalayan landscape.

“We wholeheartedly welcome you to be a part of the spirit of the game and immerse yourself in the serenity of Bhutan while relishing the thrill of cricket. Cricket-Happiness is a Game.”

To cater to the growing interest in cricket tourism, travel agencies in Bhutan are now offering specialised packages for enthusiasts.

These packages include the ground fee, match officials, equipment, lunch, refreshment, cricket opponent, first aid and even trophies.