East Timor idolise Afghanistan while aiming to becoming a cricket-playing nation

ICC’s general manager of development William Glenwright is also closely watching East Timor taking its baby steps.

Afghanistan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The meteoric rise of Afghanistan in the world of cricket seems a fairy tale as well as an inspiration to many. Though East Timor only got its independence from Indonesia in 2002 is known more for its passion for football, but yet there are young people in the war-hit country who aspire to play cricket for it and take their pill of inspiration from Afghanistan, a country also battered by domestic war but never gave up the dream of playing on the highest stage. They will play in the World Cup in England this year and it will be their second appearance in the showpiece tournament after 2015.

Juvelino Mique “Micky” Rama Pinto, 16, and his batting partner – the 14-year-old Joana Gonsalves Borges, love watching cricket on TV – the big hits and the fall of wickets. Like Micky, Joana also wants to play for East Timor on the 22 yards one day. If anybody is to be credited for giving birth to interest over cricket in East Timor, it goes to Mark Young who played in Lancashire and Gloucestershire before going to New Zealand in 1997.

As a young nation which is still suffering the effects of a violent independence movement, poor and malnourished East Timor needs to discover hope for its young population numbering 1.3 million and cricket could be one to fill the vacuum. Afghanistan, too, had a similar situation and found in the game a golden opportunity to recover.

Young, a management consultant now, and his partner Lara arrived in East Timor to help the country overcome its challenges after working in India where, according to him, poverty left a big impression on him.

Young and his Pakistani friend are working for East Timor’s cricket

Young then discovered some youngsters who were playing cricket with home-made bats and stumps and his Pakistani friend Muhammad Tayyeb Javed taught them the basics of the game. Javed believed that East Timor could use cricket as means of its revival like Afghanistan, whose players learnt the game in refugee camps and now play Test cricket.

“I contacted him and we are now working together to develop cricket in Timor,” News18 cited reports as quoting Young. “We now have over 100 young Timorese playing the game, 40 percent female.”

ICC’s general manager of development William Glenwright is also closely watching East Timor taking its baby steps.

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