International Cricket Council President Ray Mali speaking at the weekend in Sharjah said "India has become the centre of attention and Asia has become the hub of the game. We will make sure in the ICC Future Tour Programme that the Asia Cup should be given more importance. We will make sure that the event is held on a regular basis."

Mr. Mali also talked of the efforts by the ICC to globalise the game and said: “We are trying to take the game to America and in the next 30 years China will be a force to reckon with. The country has a great potential to nurture cricket and the Asian Cricket Council is fully aware of it."

“Countries like India, Pakistan Sri Lanka, UAE and Bangladesh have a huge following. Afghanistan, Oman, Nepal and Kuwait are showing great improvement and the ICC needs to support them in many ways. "We will soon see tall, broad shouldered bowlers emerging from places like Afghanistan," he added. “These countries need all support and attention.”

Speaking of the ICC’s imminent new home in Dubai Sports City, Mr. Mali said that “many nations believe that the UAE should be made a destination for top-class cricket." But he warned that cricket in the UAE could only progress by attracting UAE nationals to the game. "It will be a time-consuming matter, but only if heroes emerge from among the UAE nationals will more UAE nationals take up the game.”

Filed May 26, 2008