Maldives’s U-21 cricketers have been in Sri Lanka for two weeks preparing for the biggest challenge of their young lives: the South Asian Games in Bangladesh from January 29 to February 8, where they will be taking on the U-21 cricketers of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Cricket Board of Maldives President Ahmed Hassan Didi who is in Sri Lanka with the team says, “Our target is simple, that is to compete and to do it strongly.”

Maldives have played five Twenty20 games in Sri Lanka, against top-rated schools winning two and losing three. The 11th South Asian Games has Twenty20 cricket for the first time. It is sure to be the most popular of all the 23 disciplines at the Games.

The Maldives U-21s is predominantly made up of the ACC U-19 Challenge Cup squad that played in Chiang Mai in December 2009. On their return home from Chiang Mai, they used a local 50-over tournament for further match-sharpness. They have had five months of Twenty20 cricket in Malé as well.

Maldives Cricket’s President Ahmed Hassan Didi
In their match against DS Senanayake College, Maldives scored 157 for 5, winning by 26 runs, lost their second game to St. Joseph’s College by eight wickets and their third to Ananda College by 81 runs. The Maldives beat St. Peter’s College by ten runs. Their final game against Panadura Sports Club ended in a six-wicket loss.

Explaining his country's intense preparation for the South Asian Games Mr. Didi said, “We have been given an opportunity here by the Maldives Sports Ministry. They have offered funding for the teams that are participating in the various sports at the Asian Games. It is good to see them encouraging sport. There is a lot we can learn from playing Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.”

Mihusan Hamid goes over the top, 2008 ACC U-19 Challenge

Hassan Ibrahim

During their time in Sri Lanka, two of the Maldives players, Mihusan Hamid and Hassan Ibrahim, impressed local officials enough for them to be invited to play for clubs in Sri Lanka after the conclusion of the Games.

South Asian Games Twenty20 Fixtures
January 31 Bangladesh v Nepal, Shahid Kamruzzaman Stadium (SKS)
February 1 Nepal v Sri Lanka, SKS
Maldives v Pakistan, Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS)
February 2 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, SKS
February 3 Nepal v Pakistan, SBNCS
February 4 Bangladesh v Maldives, SBNCS
Pakistan v Sri Lanka, SBNCS
February 5 Maldives v Sri Lanka, SBNCS
Bangladesh v Pakistan, SBNCS
February 6 Maldives v Nepal, SBNCS
February 7 FINAL, SBNCS

Maldives Cricket Profile

Filed Jan 26, 2010