Croatia: Successful ICC membership - now for the ECC Trophy

The year 2001 is undoubtedly the most significant in the relatively short history of cricket in Croatia with this week's acceptance into the International Cricket Council and the recent announcement it will make its ECC Trophy debut in August in Austria.

Excluded from the original draw made in February, Croatia will feature in the same ECC Trophy group as host, Austria, favourite, Greece, along with Belgium and Switzerland.

On the club front, Zagreb CC is competing in the Austrian Open League, where it is struggling somewhat. These matches are supplemented by friendlies against a Zagreb-based South Asian dominated XI. There is hope a third team may eventuate following planned upgrading of facilities.

At the time of writing/typing(!), the first set of cricket nets in Croatia were due for completion, with the addition of the netting itself to the actual concrete.

It is intended that by the end of the summer, the ground will have undergone a complete facelift and should be resplendid with a luscious surface. The European Cricket Council has promised to provide the pitch.

The upgrading will boost the junior development process, allowing a second training session per week for the 12-13 year olds.

Enthusiasts in Croatia hope to field an under 15 team by early next season, if not by September. Officials in Zagreb are proud of that those juniors are 'born and bred' Croats, even though they would love to see young members of the expatriate community join in.