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Iran has been one of the beneficiaries of the globalisation mantra that pervaded the cricket development ethos of the late 1990s and the game's administrators have subsequently taken advantage of its proximity to Pakistan to create a following for cricket.
Iran has, however, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, been an enigma wrapped around a riddle inside a mystery, for much of its international cricket life since becoming members of the ACC and ICC.
While cricket in Tehran itself remains largely an expatriate game, thereis much activity in the southern Chabahar and Baluchistan regions of Iran. These regions border Pakistan and there is increasing evidence, as they develop commercially and welcome cross-border interaction, that cricket is attracting more and more local people.
The country's Olympic committee has allocated one ground to the Federation and three more grounds at Azadi, Thakti and Kiraj have also been earmarked for development. The national Olympic body is demonstrating increasing support of the country's cricket activity.
Cricket, because of its body-covering uniform, is seen as something that women can observe and participate in and women's cricket is being increasingly encouraged. Indeed, the majority of accredited umpires in Iran are women.
Iran first competed in the ACC Trophy in 2006, when it failed to reach the knockout stage, before taking part in the ACC Trophy Challenge in 2009 after the continent's teams were split into two sections. Iran finished third in its group before overcoming Brunei in the fifth place play-off.
National captain Nariman Bakhtiar and opener Shirmohammad Baloochnezad impressed at the 2009 ACC Trophy Challenge. At present, the cricketers are made up of two distinct groups - theTehran-based ones who have access to playing abroad, of whom Bakhtiar is a prime example, and the cricketers of the regions bordering Pakistan, such as Baloochnezad, who truly have learnt cricket the hard way.