Aizawl, Mar 12 (UNI) The soccer-crazy Mizoram in the remote is now magnetised by the nation's number one game cricket and is all set to compete at national level by 2008.
A decade ago, very few Mizos could spell out the difference between a batsman and a bowler, or what makes a ODI thrilling than a Test match.
The state government with the help of cricket association Mizoram of CAM chalked out a blueprint on 'Cricket Vision 2008'', to participate in the highest level of the game.
Mizoram government made the North Eastern Council (NEC) invest about Rs 17 crore for the construction of high-tech ''Suaka memorial cricket stadium'' at sairang near the state capital.
''Apart from the stadium construction, we have also signed a three-year agreement with Videocon company to promote and sponssor cricket in Mizoram,'' Mr Lalrochuanga, the President of CAM told UNI.
''The company would initially invest Rs 15 lakh for not only promoting cricketing activities in the region but also for sponsoring various cricket tours for the youngsters here'', he added.
During the past few years increased participation and significant progress can be seen in the game, where 41 senior and junior teams were formed across the region for the domestic games, he said adding ''apart from that now we would be constituting state's U-15, U-17 and U-19 teams.'' CAM publicity incharge Sangzuala Hmar said, '' We would be selecting talented cricket youngsters for a one and half year long training in '22 yeards cricket academy' in Kolkata under the guidance of former Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly.
'' Mizoram is also under the 'New Area Development Programme' listed by the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI),'' the publicity incharge said, adding, the BCCI had already promised us to help in the key areas of the regional development work including coach and umpire education, provision of equipment, facilities, resources and promotional materials, elite player programs and tournaments on both a local and regional basis.'' '' As a proof of the growing popularity of cricket in the state, we have been successfully organising state level cricket tournament for the past two years with the help of the State Sports Council and the largest NGO Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), '' he said adding the government has already included cricket into its official sports discipline, where this year it has allocated two lakhs for the promotional activitis.
'' We are also trying to get sponsors from various multi national companies such as Coke, Pepsi, Sahara and TVS, '' he said.
And another great accomplishment was when Vanlalruata from Mizoram was chosen to represent the Indian Under-19 team which took part in the last years' World Cup, Mr Sangzuala underlined.
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