Development Express: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Wisden's 'Cricket Around The World', Darrell Hair, Burkina Faso
Finding a balance between prudent economic mamagement and encouraging development remains a delicate task for cricket's various governing bodies.
There have been recent instances where cricket's cause in certain countries have been set back by financial demands levied by the game's officialdom.
The seven countries who competed in the recent Pacifica Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, were all required to pay $US5,000 to cover expenses to be eligible to participate in the tournament.
Relatively speaking, the sum is a huge amount for so called less developed countries, particularly where the organisation of the sport is still very much an amateur concern.
Meanwhile, another country which would like to join its continental association is unable to because it cannot afford the same amount set by the organisation as a membership fee.
BTTW understands this also blocks it from attempting to gain membership of the International Cricket Council.
Although cricket there is very much a minority sport, it has had a stable six team competition for many years.
Good news out of Cameroon where a visit from the ICC's African Development Officer, Mr. Hoosain Ayob, has resulted in the formation of the Cameroon Cricket Development Association, an organisation intended to oversee the introduction of cricket into the nation famous for its soccer team.
Mr. Ayob visited the capital Yaounde and other centres from February 14-16 to evaluate the potential for developing cricket in Cameroon.
He worked with Esua Enow, a lecturer at the country's National Institute of Youth & Sports in Yaounde. Mr Enow, who has been given the role of Development Officer for Cameroon, was advised during intensive sessions, on how best to attract Cameroonians to the game.
Mr. Ayob also met with local political, Youth and Sports Department heads, as well as handing cricket kits over to Mr. Enow.
The CCDA has already elected an Executive Bureau, headed by Mr. Enow, as well as commencing plans to train coaches and establishment of a registry of Cameroonians willing to play cricket. Sunday cricket demonstration sessions followed perusal of the 'This is Cricket' video.
A training workshop designed to be a base for cricket in Cameroon, however, had to be cancelled due to lack of financial and material resources.
Mr. Enow will be invited to a seminar of all African Development Officers at a date to be determined.
It's all happening in Hong Kong at the moment where 150th birthday celebrations are taking place for the Hong Kong Cricket Club.
The centrepiece of the festivities are a series of matches between the two MCCs - the Marylebone and Melbourne Cricket Clubs.
The Hong Kong national team will also play matches against the two Clubs. The Marylebone CC side includes former England captain, Mike Gatting.
Expect big news from the progressive Hong Kong Cricket Association in the next fortnight. Adam Hollioake's replacement as national coach is likely to be announced, along with details of a major sponsorship for the HKCA's excellent development programme.
As well, the HKCA intends to establish a Hong Kong national women's team.
The inspiration for 'Beyond The Test World' (for that's worth) came from Wisden Almanack's 'Cricket Around The World' section.
This year 26 countries feature in the 'Bible's' roundup of news from cricket's outposts.
They are: Argentina, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Estonia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Norfolk Island, Norway, Panama, Solomon Islands, Spain, Switzerland, United States, Vanuatu.
Just quietly, all of those countries have appeared at least once on BTTW in the last 12 months.
Although true, just stirring, Hugh!
If you need reminding of why attracting indigenous participation in the game's new frontiers is so crucial, take a look at the situation in Ethiopia.
BTTW told you in the January 21 edition of the great work of Paul Gilbert, head of Physical Education at Addis Ababa's International School, where he has been introducing students (both Ethiopian and foreign) to Kwik cricket.
Now that effort appears doomed, with the news that Paul will be transferring in his employment next year to Brunei Darrusalem.
It still gives time for the ICC's African Development Officer, Mr. Hoosain Ayob, to visit Addis Ababa, and find a way of building on Paul's initiative.
Bowlers will be checking their actions right throughout the ICC's East Asia-Pacific Development Region this month when current Australian Test umpire, Darrell Hair, begins his involvement in the region's first ever Umpire Development Project.
The veteran of 37 Test matches and 69 One Day Internationals will visit the region's three Associate members - Papua New Guinea (April 9-13), Hong Kong (April 19-22) and Fiji (April 26-30).
The project extends beyond Hair's work in PNG, Hong Kong and Fiji, with an assessment of the present status of umpiring in the region, as well as the establishment of the plan for all 14 countries, including its seven Affiliate members and four New Territories.
Hair has extensive grass roots experience in umpire training and development role through his various roles with the New South Wales Umpires Association. Additionally he has been involved in umpire development initiatives in emerging countries such as Kenya, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Malta and Malaysia.
The project, to be conducted throughout April, will involve three major components of research, visitations, and report/plan preparation.
Do you remember an email from a reader, Malcolm Tait, in the November 9 edition of BTTW, recalling evidence of cricket activity in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso?
Well, Malcolm has been proven right - albeit somewhat belatedly.
The Faso United Cricket Club did exist (note past tense) - and the club treasurer was 'Jean-Louis', owner of a bar in central Ouagadougou, 'Le Pub'. According to Chris Frean of the British Embassy in neigbouring Cote D'Ivore, the club's basis was extremely social and in no way a serious effort at entrenching cricket in Ouagadougou.
The club unfortunately ceased playing around 10 years ago, with the British expatriate base then much bigger than it is now (24 people). It reportedly had no fixed playing address, playing on any open space in Ouagadougou.
Remnants of cricket's 'glory days(!)' in Burkina Faso can still be found behind the bar, with photos and a set of stumps in a solid base now being used to hang dishcloths on.
Of course, in this era of global development programmes, such a club would be seized on and nurtured, rather than allowed to whither. So there it is - the story of the brief history of cricket in Burkina Faso.