Fuvahmulah coach Shamila takes her young charges through the basics of cricket

Fuvahmulah, a large island on the south of the Maldivian archipelago, just over 300 miles from Malé has just had its most eminent cricketing visitor so far, ACC Development Officer Venkatapathi Raju. The island, the site of the 2011 SAARC Trophy for the U-23 Test-playing nations, has a large ground in place. And now, emerging from the long grass, it has a group of enthusiastic young cricketers. "I was very impressed with the attitude and energy of these youngsters," says Raju, "it was very refreshing to work with players who have so much desire to improve and learn."

37 boys and 42 girls were with Raju and three other coaches – Riyas, Dhoorgas and Shamila - over two days, including the eight U-14 players that played so well in Malé last year. The feedback from the children and parents was very positive and already plans are being made for Raju to return to the atoll as soon as possible. Age-group teams from Malé will be brought over and housed with Fuvahmulah cricket families for the duration of their stay.

Raju showing how left-arm spin bowling is done

“It’s really more than one person can handle there and it would be good to see a couple more coaches, including a lady coach, come in and guide these youngsters who have so much desire to play cricket,” says the former India left arm-spinner. The once-splendid turf at the Ahmed Ali Didi stadium has not been tended for some time but under a newly-formed local Association a plan will be drawn up to re-activate the stadium, with a Fuvahmulah team taking part in Maldives league cricket. Cricket Board of Maldives Development Manager Imad Ismail feels that there is plenty of potential in this island, “the boys and girls were very athletic and with all the numbers here, from just two schools, two more schools haven’t even been invited yet.” The island’s PE teachers too, are going to be encouraged to start teaching cricket.

Maldives Cricket Profile

Filed January 30th, 2014