Plans to grow cricket via schools

Left-hand batsman Syed Aziz Mubarak in action for the men’s national team.

IN THIS second part of an interview with Mahinda Vallipuram, the Malaysian Cricket Association president shares news of what we might expect this year.

Mahinda, who was recently re-elected an associate member director of the world governing body International Cricket Council (ICC), said he was looking forward to working with the ICC board to help build a sustainable global strategy, among other things.

Speaking of the national association’s main goals for this year, he said: “We hope to concentrate on the Cricket Adiwira programme.

“This is an entry-level programme, through which we aspire to grow the number of cricketers across the country and develop interest towards the sport.

“Specifically for Cricket Adiwira, we will target 1,500 new schools and work with about 35,000 schoolchildren.”

The Cricket Malaysia boss added: “In the Girl’s Development and High-Performance Pathway Programme, which is the Women’s U19 team and Senior Women’s team, we aim to showcase their talent in the international arena.

“We are hopeful that our U19 team, who are now in ICC Asia Division 1, will qualify for the World Cup.

“We are working on a pathway programme for women that we reckon will improve the women’s ICC world ranking and lead the team to qualify for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup as well as get a chance to qualify for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.”

Turning to the senior men’s team, Mahinda said they would be participating in the ICC World Challenge League (CWC), which will be held in Canada in August.

“Our senior men’s and women’s teams will start the process of trying to make the grade for the ICC T20 Global qualifiers (2022) by playing in the ICC T20 Asia qualifiers.

“The ICC Men’s T20 Asia Qualifier is scheduled for July 3 to 9 in Kuala Lumpur and the women’s T20 CWC Asia qualifier between Sept 20 and 26.”

Cricket Malaysia is also working towards getting the national men’s and women’s teams to qualify for the Global Qualifiers of the Cricket World Championship.

The ICC U19 men’s Cricket World Cup Asia qualifiers is scheduled for this year too, but no dates set yet. The event will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“We hope that the pandemic eases up and allows us to achieve these goals, ” he added.

“We remain positive, with the announcements by the National Security Council and Youth and Sports Ministry, of the possibilities of staging national and international tournaments in Malaysia, ” said Mahinda.

“We look forward to working with the authorities to follow set parameters. We understand the need to work within these bio-bubbles and believe we can deliver on the requirements.

“This will give the country the opportunity to host international events and have even the big cricketing nations consider Malaysia as a destination, besides hosting ICC and ACC tournaments.

“Malaysia will consider hosting T20I tri-series or bilateral as well to boost our standing in both the men and women ICC rankings.”

On another note, Mahinda said they had “grown” their live streaming platform over the last couple of years and were pleased that all their major leagues were streamed live.

“For our viewers in Malaysia, they can get access through our Facebook (Malaysia Cricket), with player and team rankings via the website

“We have invested in our own scoring applications and we are now providing real-time scoring for all our major leagues.

“We are constantly striving to bolster fan engagement and provide better interactions.

“It is important for our fans to be able to interact with us and we will continue to grow in this space.

“We hope too that the corporate sector will take notice of the Malaysian Cricket Association’s achievements and lend some support to our journey to excellence.

“We are also appreciative of our team at Malaysia Cricket who constantly work hard to make sure that cricket continues to grow and to keep the Malaysian flag flying high. Teamwork is crucial to success, ” added Mahinda.

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