Mongolia's Cricketing Journey So Far - A Nomadic Start And Few Dismal Records

Mongolia were bowled out for 12 runs in the second T20 International match against Japan for another unwanted record, around six months after making their international debut

Young Mongolian kids play a cricket match. Cricket Mongolia Photo
Young Mongolian kids play a cricket match. Photo: Cricket Mongolia

Mongolia's introduction to international cricket is turning out to be nomadic, at best, and with no fire.

Early Wednesday (May 8, 2024) morning in Japan, some six months after making their international debut, the Mongols achieved yet another unwanted feat. They were bowled out for 12 runs in the second T20 International match. (More Cricket News)

Played at Sano International Cricket Ground in Kanto, Japan rode Sabaorish Ravichandran's 39-ball 69 to post a total of 217/7 in 20 overs.

Mongolia, in reply, batted for 8.2 overs. If not for three extras conceded by the hosts, their total would have become the lowest in the history of T20Is. Isle of Man's 10 in 8.4 overs against Spain last year remains the lowest, for now.

This tour of Japan in a World Cup year, for a seven-match T20I series, is supposed to serve as an exposure trip for a fledgling cricketing nation. But in the first two outings alone, they have conceded 416 runs while managing 45.

Alarmingly, the highest individual score is 8, by one of the openers Hitesh Upadhyay in the tour opener, which they lost by 166 runs (JPN: 199/5; MNG: 33 all out). Going by Reddit user comments, many of the Mongolian players 'don't know how to hold a bat' -- which, of course, is a stretch.

With five more matches coming up, there will be more skewed results. But the Mongols knew that it would be a steep learning curb for them.

According to the ICC, "Cricket is not a part of Mongolia’s heritage but, during Soviet times, children played a similar street game called ‘guideg matka’. The man behind cricket in Mongolia, Battulga Gombo, fell in love with the game in Melbourne and brought it home."

It was only in 2016 that this landlocked country known for its steppe and desert, got its first cricket ground in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city which houses a third of the population.

And in their first-ever T20I match, Mongolia conceded 314/3 against Nepal at the delayed 2022 Asian Games. A flurry of cricket records was broken in that lopsided Hangzhou clash.

As it turned out, it was the first of many chastening outings for the Mongols, who gained ICC's Associate Member status in 2021.