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After registering for 2022 auction, Dorji dreams of IPL debut in future

Last year, the 22-year-old became the first player from Bhutan to play in a franchise-based league outside the country.

Published: 27th January 2022 08:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th January 2022 08:39 PM   |  A+A-

Mikyo Dorji

Mikyo Dorji with Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas, Bhutan is taking baby steps in cricket. In a country, where archery is the national sport and football oozes in popularity, the gentleman’s game is one of the growing sports. There has been an increase in the participation of players across various levels, and the likes of Bhutanese all-rounder Mikyo Dorji is trying to put his country’s name on the global map.

Last year, the 22-year-old became the first player from the Land of the Thunder Dragon to play in a franchise-based league outside the country. He represented Lalitpur Patriots in the Everest Premier League in Nepal. Now, he is also one of the 318 overseas players, who has registered for the Indian Premier League auction, scheduled for next month. Dorji, who made his debut in 2018 against Malaysia, understands the magnitude of the cash-rich league and where he stands.  

“Playing in the IPL is an ultimate dream for me. People saw that there was one player in the auction list from Bhutan and my friends started calling me. But they don’t know (laughs) that this is just the initial round, and the names are going to be shortlisted further. If I am honest to myself, my name will not be there in the main list after it is trimmed. Anyways, just registering is a big deal for Bhutan,” Dorji told this daily.

However, the player is not new to India. It was at Saint Joseph’s school in Darjeeling, India, where he took cricket seriously. He also visited the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai in 2018 and 2019 to work on his bowling action.

It was during one of those visits that Dorji met MS Dhoni in a team hotel and the former India captain advised him to work hard, and he has taken that very seriously, working long hours in training. He also travelled to Bengal with several others from Bhutan for a camp a couple of years ago. But, like many such teams in the lower tier, Bhutan were also affected by Covid. They have not played much cricket in the last 24 months. “For players like me, more than anything, I missed international cricket, where I could have learned further and developed,” said Dorji.

With Bhutan, who became an associate member in 2017, ranked 76 in men’s T20I cricket, they have a long way to go. First and foremost, they need to improve upon their quality and compete against associate nations to even make a mark. For that to happen, though the sport is growing, it needs to be more popular among the younger generation.  

However, having India as a geographical neighbour has helped the sport in Bhutan. Many Bhutanese, when young, also travel to India for education, where they learn and excel at the game. Besides, some of the TV channels in Bhutan are more or less as shown in India, meaning more cricket on sports channels. Dorji is of the opinion that if any franchise picks a player from Bhutan in the near future, it will act as a major boost for the upcoming youngsters. Even when Dorji played in Nepal, the interest in the sport surged in Bhutan.  

“In the future, and I hope so, if any franchise picks a player from Bhutan, it will help a great deal here. For example, Bhutan footballer Chencho Gyeltshen plays in the Indian Super League, it has helped a lot. People and parents alike have started to realise that one can make good money and career out of such sports too. The same thing can happen in cricket too if a player from Bhutan is in the IPL,” added Dorji, who is looking at more realistic goals of playing franchise cricket in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh to gain experience.



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