The Prem Cricket Academy based at the school in Chiang Mai, north Thailand at which half of the recent ACC U-19 Challenge Cup was played, have donated a wicket mat to the Myanmar Cricket Federation (MCF). "It is a great gift for us," says MCF Joint Secretary Michael Moosajee, 'with this mat we will be able to play a lot more cricket."

Not only does Myanmar have only the most rudimentary of facilities, it has a very long monsoon season which either forces cricketers indoors or away from the game altogether and this Notts Sport Roll Up Roll Down mat, which can be placed on concrete and used indoors, will allow Myanmar's fledgling cricketers to play for up to 10 months of the year. Until the MCF secure their own ground, a likely place for the mat is at Baahan in Yangon, at a facility shared with football.

David Buck and Michael Moosajeee shake on a good deal

"Myanmar have always shown great spirit and some of the boys show a great deal of promise, but they have suffered from a lack of match practise," says Prem Cricket Academy Director David Buck. "We're delighted to extend the hand of friendship to a neighbour and hope that this mat we're giving will advance the cause of Myanmar cricket," he adds.

Loaded on to the back of a van by Myanmar's U-19 players themselves, the mat started its 12-hour journey to Yangon. "We will make great use of it, and thank the Prem school very much for their support of Myanmar cricket," said Mr. Moosajee.

Related: Myanmar Cricket Profile

Pictures by Robert Thaprom

Filed Jan 7th, 2010