Sikkim Cricket President shares experience of winning U19 world cup as India's manager

Gangtok: Lobzang G. Tenzing, the team manager of India Under-19 and president of Sikkim Cricket Association (SCA), returned to a rousing welcome on Sunday after India defeated England by four wickets to win the record-extending fifth ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

The Sikkim Cricket president was the officiating manager for the Indian U19 team from January 14 in the tournament. He served as a manager prior to the world cup in U19 Asia Cup in UAE, which was also won by India.

Tenzing termed his appointment as manager reflective of the BCCI’s unstinting support to the northeast states and recalled how BCCI Secretary Jay Shah terms him ‘Lucky Manager’.

Speaking with EastMojo, Lobzang G Tenzing shared, “For a person like me who has been an administrator for long, it was a challenging job to manage a young team. I am used to giving orders and make policy and work on funds and infrastructure. But a manager’s job required to have hands on experience and I have always maintained that managers are the eyes and ears of the board.”

“As a cricket administrator and belonging from the Northeast, I did not think that I would be managing the Indian cricket team. It was a completely new experience for me. My deepest respect goes to BCCI secretary Jay Shah for having faith in me, and the northeast family, for giving me this huge responsibility and honour,” Tenzing shared.

Tenzing was received at Pakyong airport by SICA officials and members, local cricketers and well-wishers. “The challenges were many in the West Indies with poor infrastructure and lethargic response from local units. WiFi, laundry, food made us go round and round. Finally the team was hit by Covid-19 and 4 more players had to be rushed from India. At one point, one team was in three different locations. Despite the Covid-19 upheaval and many other challenges, the players remained strong and never faltered. The support staff was excellent,” he shared.

On his involvement with the team, Tenzing said, “As management team, we do not involve ourselves in the coaching or playing aspects of the game. We just give them a comfortable environment with logistics and financial support and link with board for directions. I was also handling media along with the BCCI’s in charge.”

Rating the Indian world Cup winning team, he shared, “We were not the strongest team at the start of the tournament. But as the tournament progressed, the team got better. We have a brilliant set of young players and I am sure some of them will achieve great success in senior men’s cricket.”

He added that him becoming the manager of the Indian cricket team was proof that hard work and sincerity pays off. “The more you work, the more respect you will get from the BCCI and, if you are sincere, they will always keep you in high regards. Otherwise, how would a national team have a manager from the Northeast? Every time I go out of Sikkim, I make sure that I communicate with cricket bodies of northeast states beforehand and take forward our issues to the BCCI.”

On his arrival, SICA also introduced the adhoc district cricket committee of the newly-created Pakyong district. On being asked how can Sikkimese players feature in India U19 team, Tenzing said, “Our Sikkimese Under-19 is a good side. Our youngsters are lucky to be mentored by DR Atul Gaikwad, a very senior coach who is helping us in an honourary capacity. We are providing world-class facilities and more is to come soon. The platform is set and now the Sikkimese players should set dreams that none of us could imagine.”

On no Sikkimese player ever being auctioned at the Indian Premier League, the Sikkim Cricket Association president shared, “One franchise has to pick or recommend. They (players) have to play well in domestic tournaments.”

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