New Zealand Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia

New Zealand cricket legend Chris Cairns promotes the game in Indonesia

A love of cricket, and the desire to help young Indonesians discover the game, brought former New Zealand cricketing great Chris Cairns and three of Australia’s cricketing legends to the hills of West Java, Indonesia 22-23 May to open Java’s first turf cricket pitch. New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia David Taylor officially opened the new clubrooms, which includes “The Lance Cairns Deck” – in honour of Chris’ father, also a great New Zealand player.
Its taken a year in the planning, says expat kiwi Robert Baldwin but he managed to align the stars and get Cairns, plus Australians, Glenn McGrath, Jeff Thomson, and Graham Yallop, to Indonesia for a one-day Cricket Sixes tournament to open the cricket turf that he carved out of a mountainous volcanic ridge top over a 10 month period.

His aim is for the pitch to become a centre for developing Indonesian cricket, and a place where youngsters can just “have some fun,” and improve their skills.

Since 2006, Baldwin, a retired businessman who moved to Indonesia in 1975, has been developing cricket leagues for Bogor school children at his property in the hills of Ciawi on the outskirts of Bogor, near Jakarta.

He wanted to do something for the local children when he noticed there was little in the way of sports activities available through the schools. Schools here lacked sports leagues and athletic programs, and had little in the way of funds to buy sports equipment. Many expatriates, particularly other kiwis, have really gotten behind the scheme, says Baldwin, raising much needed funds for cricket development.

New Zealand Embassy staff have supported the project.

Cairns also helped run coaching sessions for young players on the two days prior. Now based in Dubai, he captained the kiwi team which included an engineer, lawyer, school teacher and diplomats Philip Houlding and James Waite from the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta.

Interest from children in the area is growing fast. A cricket competition is now played from August to November each year

Results: New Zealand narrowly beaten by India in the final.

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