Aizawl/Mizoram: A group of girls took to the Tlangnuam football field in Aizawl, Mizoram, engaging in a spirited game of cricket during scorching midday heat. Cricket, an unfamiliar sport in the region, has been overshadowed by the popularity of football and basketball.
Lalhmangaihsangi, the captain of one of the teams, shared her journey from being a newcomer to playing for the Mizoram Under 19 Women's team. She expressed her belief in cricket's bright future in Mizoram, citing better financial prospects compared to other sports in the state, reported Northeast Weekly.
Another aspiring player, Nancy Lalthlamuanpuii, an eighth grader, dreams of representing Team India one day. Inspired by women's cricket on television, she dedicates three hours daily to honing her skills.
Despite the passion and dedication of Mizoram's cricketers, the lack of proper infrastructure and delayed affiliation with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pose significant challenges.
Mizoram had struggled for years to obtain BCCI membership, eventually receiving it in 2017 due to the Lodha Committee's recommendation.
The absence of adequate facilities, compounded by heavy monsoon rains, forces teams to train in other states during the off-season. However, plans for an indoor cricket center in Sihhmui, funded by the BCCI, offer hope for addressing this issue.
Additionally, concrete pitches have been constructed within the city and districts to facilitate practice sessions.
Mamom Majumdar, a BCCI Apex Council member, expressed his determination to develop cricket in Mizoram, highlighting the support received from Secretary Jay Shah. He acknowledged the challenges faced by the state but remains optimistic about the sport's growth and potential.
Despite the lack of infrastructure, cricket enthusiasts in Mizoram continue to embrace the sport. Mizoram's love for cricket began in the late 1990s, inspired by legends like Sachin Tendulkar. With the backing of the BCCI, the Cricket Association of Mizoram aims to expand the sport's reach to remote villages and towns.
The Mizo physique, well-suited for cricket, offers an advantage to aspiring players. While financial benefits are enticing, the values, friendships, and life lessons learned through the sport endure beyond professional success.
Cricket in Mizoram may have started on a challenging note, but with the commitment of players, administrators, and the support of the BCCI, it holds promising prospects for the state's sporting landscape.