|All-rounder Virandeep Singh, Man of the Match in the 2012 ACC U-16 Elite Final
(Picture by Peter Lim)
Youth development has for long been a strong feature of Malaysian cricket, always there or thereabouts when it comes to the business end of a tournament, last year the U-16s won the nation's first ever ACC event. And the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) want that tournament success to be the first of many. The fourth U-15 National Junior Circuit is underway, and the best of this year’s batch will feature in Malaysia’s ACC U-16 Elite title defence next year.
Until the mid-1990s Malaysia’s seniors were one of the leading Associates in Asia, “18 out of 20 compared to Bangladesh,” says ACC Development Officer Aminul Islam who played for Bangladesh against Malaysia. The absence of cricket from the national sports curriculum, the increasing focus of Asian parents on academics, the lack of a formalised coaching structure and a few unfortunate years of recession meant that Malaysia lost a generation of cricketers. Now, with the input of senior player-coaches who are aware of what Malaysia can be, the juniors are being groomed for success.
|Some of these boys, 2012’s SportExcel U-15 champions…
(Picture from cricketmalaysia.com)
Aminul notes that “the players have come mostly from private clinics and members’ clubs and from a few schools in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, so it is credit to the way that the MCA have brought them all together under one umbrella to give some support and structure to the junior cricket around what is a very big country. The U-16s last year did very well in winning not only Malaysia’s first ACC tournament but also in playing good quality cricket to beat Nepal in a very close game."
|…were once these boys|
Malaysian Cricket Association
Malaysia Cricket Profile
Filed February 27th, 2013