...from Battulga Gombo - the man behind Mongolian cricket:
"I learnt cricket in Melbourne, the game was invented in England and so many foreigners are helping us now. Although we played a similar game called matka during Soviet times, cricket is not part of our heritage and so will always be a gift from cricketing nations to Mongolia. I thank all that have given it so far from the bottom of my heart.
The game is still very young in Mongolia and until 2016 we didn't have a cricket pitch. I founded the Mongolian Amateur Cricket Association in 2007 but it wasn't until 2014 when we got rights to a plot of land, that things started to move. In March 2018, with humility and excitement, we changed our name to the Mongolian Cricket Association (MCA).
Back in 2014, we needed funds for earthworks, concrete, grass seed, astro-turf, water, irrigation equipment and many other things. In 2015 we launched the Mongolian Cricket Seed Appeal and since then cricket has been developing very fast thanks to many amazing people in local embassies, local and international businesses, the international cricket community, and many others.
By the end of April 2016 we had raised almost USD 50,000 - and by July 2016 we had built a basic ground and nets. By the end of 2016 we had introduced over 150 kids to cricket for the first time and by the end of 2017, over 1,000. This was largely due to enormous help from DFAT's Australian Volunteers programme and DAP funding.
We now have a permanent coach who works with about 350 kids from 10 schools and orphanages on a weekly basis year round and have a tournament schedule of 2 indoor and 2 outdoor tournaments each year, in March, May, September and December and thanks to an amazing donation from Oyu Tolgoi LLC, we will build a unique pavilion at the ground in 2018!
It has always been our dream to introduce cricket to the Mongolian state school system. We have now been working with them since 2017 and they are extremely keen to expand the Cricket Outreach Programme significantly in 2018 and beyond.
We have almost finished the Ground Development Programme, and now have two main challenges - coaching capacity (we need 2 more permanent coaches) and accessibility (helping with travel cost for the kids to come to sessions).
Sustainability is at the heart of our plans, but it is early in the journey, and we will need your help for a few more years. In return we will do our best to promote and publicise your help and of course you will always be welcome at Cricket Mongolia!
Our dreams are big, so please come, get involved, play and join us on this great journey!"