Vladimir Ninković is a Player, Coach and now a General Secretary of Serbian Cricket Federation. Vladimir served as the Captain of the National Team during the period 2010-2014. His contribution in lifting up Serbian Cricket has been immense. Serbia is not a member of ICC and is expected to become an affiliate member of ICC this year. Vladimir envisions a tremendous growth for the Serbian Cricket Federation. In an interview with Vishal Yadav, Vladimir speaks about his future plans and throws light on some of the recent progress that Serbian Cricket has made.
1. Tell us about you?
Full Name: Vladimir Ninković
Date of Birth: 9.11.1981
Playing Role: Batsman
Batting Style: RH
Bowling Style: OB
2. At Present: Are you a Coach? A cricket player? A cricket related business? A club Owner? A cricket Fan? Mention your work profile (if anything else).
A player, a coach and the General secretary of Serbian Cricket Federation. A cricket fan as well.
3. Are you playing cricket currently? If Yes - Since how long are you playing cricket? What level of cricket have you played so far in your country?
Since 2007. I was the captain of the national team 2010-2014.
4. Do you play for any club or a team? Mention their names? When was it founded? Where are you working currently?
I captain Mirijevo CC from Belgrade, established in 2008.
5. Where do you and your team see yourself in coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?
Hopefully this year Serbia will become an affiliate member of the ICC. By 2020 we expect to have fully developed structure regarding the youth development, standard 8-10 clubs with most of the players being native cricketers and one more cricket ground.
6. Do your club/association have any website or facebook page? Mention their links.
www.serbiacricket.com (currently we’re rebuilding it, it will be fully functional by the next week)
Kriket klub Mirijevo
7. Any recent achievements/activities that you had. (It could be organizing a small camp, or just playing a match or organizing a cricket camp or playing a tournament series) Do mention the date.
Currently the Serbian T20 Championship is in full swing. Last weekend we played two matches against Bodrog CC from the village of Backi Monostor in the northwestern corner of Serbia, we won one, lost one. The curiosity is that there were only two expat players at the ground.
8. Would you like to come to India for a tournament or a coaching camp? Or do you want to travel any other country (if Yes, please mention the name)?
Of course I would. I would also travel to any other cricket playing country.
9. What are the challenges you are facing in your country's cricket? If any, how do you feel to overcome those challenges?
The major challenge is finances, as we operate on a shoestring budget. A large chunk of our budget comes from the annual funding of the Serbian Ministry for Youth and Sports, and local governments support the local cricket clubs. However, the corporate and private support is much needed.
The problem that stems from the first one is the infrastructure. Currently we have one fully dedicated cricket ground in Belgrade, and an adapted football ground (flicx pitch) in Bački Monoštor. However, in order to be ready for international matches the Belgrade cricket ground will require a lot of investment, which we currently cannot afford.
There are other challenges, like the lack of highly skilled coaches (we have 10 L1 coaches, but none above that level), the lack of awareness about cricket among general population (although, it must be stressed, it has improved greatly in the last 5 years) and of course the illness of the modern world – the sedentary way of life. The kids are just not as interested in any sports as they used to be. Also, Serbia is a country with a rich tradition in many other sports (basketball, waterpolo, tennis, volleyball, football...), so it’s not easy to promote a new sport, when kids already have idols.
10. One thing that you instantly need that would boost the involvement of people in your country's cricket?
Possibility to participate at official international tournaments, or at least a possibility to qualify for them. Otherwise, it will be difficult to boost the interest of the youth and kids, as any other sport will provide them that opportunity.
11. Name any 3 active Cricket Clubs from your locality, Country. Also mention the name and email id of these 3 clubs.
Mirijevo CC, Belgrade
Stari Grad CC, Belgrade
Dunav CC, Belgrade
Bodrog CC, Bački Monoštor
12. Would you like to nominate any club from your country for a free website from Global Cricket Community? If Yes, Why?
Yes, Mirijevo CC, because it’s my club :) Jokes aside, any other club would also deserve it.