A CHANCE TO LIVE THE DREAMThe last ACC Twenty20 in 2013 resulted in Hong Kong and Nepal joining Afghanistan and UAE in the World Twenty20 Qualifier. After winning through that qualifier, and reaching the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 all four countries have maintained their position – and ability – to challenge for places in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India. The winner of this year’s ACC Twenty20 Cup goes up, just like the other four ACC nations, to be just a few more victories away from a global event. "As a player it's what you dream of whenever you play, whenever you watch, whenever you see, hear or meet an international cricketer," says Malaysia’s Shafiq Sharif.
SOME CORNER OF A FOREIGN ATOLLThe ACC's Venkatapathi Raju has just returned from a place he had never thought he would ever go, a place he had not even heard of until a month ago, a place that he was pleasantly astounded to find, has cricket. Kunahandhoo on the southern tip of Laamu Atoll, 260 kilometres south of Malé, as part of the Milo Atoll Youth Development Program hosted a cricket tournament, one where the girls beat the boys. "To see the simple joy of cricket, where people are playing for the pure fun of the game is very heartening," says the ACC Development Officer.
CHINESE UMPIRES ACTIVATED IN HONG KONG"If I can get just five or six to take it to the next level, then we'll have done very well," so said Chairman of the Hong Kong Umpires Association Anoop Gidwani. An active umpire himself, Mr. Gidwani was assisting ACC Umpiring Resource Person Mahboob Shah during a recent Level I Umpiring Course held at both the Hong Kong Cricket Club (outdoor module) and Kowloon Cricket Club (indoor modules).
CHINA'S WOMEN TOUR SRI LANKAChina's women's squad has completed a tour of Sri Lanka. The tourists played six Twenty20 matches against strong women’s teams from the Sri Lankan armed forces, many of whose players make up the island's national squad. "Going from -25 degrees in north China to +25 degrees in Sri Lanka, it took us one game to adjust, but after that I was very happy with the way we played," says China's coach Manjurul Islam. "We took our opponents deep into the 20 overs in three of our matches when they chased," he added.
UMPIRES UP A NOTCH IN QATARThe Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) has held a significant Level 0 Umpiring Course in Doha. Many of the 27 participants were local school games teachers. "As cricket grows in Qatar, it needs to be organised and with that there needs to come a proper understanding not just of the Laws of the game but also the way they come into practice," says ACC Development Officer for Qatar Iqbal Sikander, "as such, encouraging and monitoring the newcomers as they grow into officiating at matches is very important."
NEPAL IN THE FRAME WITH RAJU AND RUMESHACC Development Officers Venkatapathi Raju and Rumesh Ratnayake have completed a specialist bowling workshop in Nepal. "We wanted to add just a few of those 'one-percenters' to the spinners and fast-bowlers ahead of (Pepsi ICC World Cricket League) Division 2," says Rumesh. Promotion from Division 2, and Nepal are within striking distance of World Cup 2019 and Test-status.
KUWAIT ON THE CALENDARAn ACC Level I Coaching Course has been held in Kuwait, one which promises significant progress. The 18 candidates were made up of six men’s and women's national team players and local schoolteachers. "They have promised to start cricket in their (Arab) schools," says ACC Development Officer Aminul Islam.
THAILAND IN THE MEDALSAfter being a demonstration sport in 2012, cricket has featured as a medal sport for the first time in Thailand's National Games. Thailand joins Malaysia and Nepal as the only ACC members to have cricket as a part of their state sporting championships. "It is a terrific achievement, and a sign that cricket has truly established itself in the Thai sporting landscape," says ACC Development Officer for Thailand Venkatapathi Raju.