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All four league teams in Estonia will comprise almost completely of locally born players following a nine-minute segment about cricket on national television.
"We now got well over 50 Estonian-born players on the books this season," enthused Estonian Cricket Association official James Ramsden this week.
The explosion of Estonian native-born players followed the feature on the current affairs show 'Pealtija' in February where several members of the Estonian national squad spoke of what it meant to them to play cricket for their adopted country.
Ramsden added that two non-league 'development' teams would be introduced to meet the demand from the new recruits. "They will play each other, as well as the league teams on a friendly basis. There is a very big possibility that one of these teams will be an all-womens' team."
The league, comprising four teams from the capital, Tallinn, kicked off last night with the first game of the Twenty20 section of the league between Kalev, the premier of the last two years, and Reval. Together with Tallinn CC and Old Boys CC, the four teams also contest a 50-over competition.
Ramsden said the Estonian Cricket Association was hopeful some junior development may take place outside Tallinn. "We've recently been to some schools outside of Tallinn to demonstrate cricket, and we're attending a PE teachers’ summer camp in Tartu to demonstrate cricket and hopefully sign up some schools from all over Estonia."
Back in Tallinn, improvements are being made to the Hippodrome field, with two double-bay nets being installed as well as a company being contracted to roll and do professional grass cutting to protect the outfield.
It will be an important season for the Estonian national team. They makes their debut on the official European representative scene when they compete in the Division Five tournament in Corfu in September. They return to Wales in July for the now annual Carmel Twenty20 tournament, as well as playing unofficial matches against Latvia and Lithuania. They also plays in the Helsinki Sixes.
The ECA regularly hosts touring teams, and would love to hear from you if your club is interested in visiting Estonia. For more information on Estonian cricket, click here.
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