Cricket Indonesia (CI) plans to hold a tournament involving 16 provinces in a bid to gain membership of the National Sports Committee (KONI) and entrance to the 2010 Asian Games.
CI advisor Sachin Gopalan said in Jakarta on Saturday the competition, which will run from September until March next year, is designed to gather talented children between the ages of 12 and 15.
He said the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs had supported the campaign and was pondering whether to send a national cricket team to the upcoming 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
"The tournament is indeed helpful for filtering players for the team to compete in the Games," he said.
The inclusion of the Indonesian cricket team at the games requires CI be recognized as an official member of KONI, which demands that an organization hold regular nationwide competitions.
"We must carry out a competition involving 16 provinces, or half the total of 32 provinces required by the KONI," he said.
He said the tournament would be well received by the country's fanbase, which has grown since CI's establishment in 2000.
"We would like to promote cricket here as it has already been a very big sport involving many sponsors in other countries, including India, Australia and England," he said.
He said he hoped 21,600 children from 480 schools would participate in the championship.
"We also expect several schools to include cricket as one of their subjects in their curriculum as has already been applied in Bali," he said.
CI said next year's event calender included an under-15 tournament in May and June and the East Asia Pacific Championship in July.
"Through such events, we hope CI will become a member of the International Cricket Council in 2009," Gopalan said, adding that to organize the 2008 events CI would seek US$ 200,000 through sponsorships.
CI Chairman A. Antaria said cricket was becoming more popular in some cities, including Bali, Bogor, Bandung and Jakarta.
"We have also trained coaches in those cities over the past four years," he said, adding that CI had also recruited new coaches, including an Australian to coach in Bali.
He said an Indonesia team managed to reach the quarterfinals in last year's East Pacific Championship in Kuala Lumpur.
"Through regular competition we hope we can form a better national team," he said. (ewd)