A BDCA roadshow at a school in Bandar Seri Begawan

“No doubt about it, Brunei Cricket is struggling,” says ACC Development Officer Aminul Islam. Bottom of the ACC rankings for the past four years, they have few players, minimal training and playing facilities and just two active coaches. “The ACC will always support them and out of all our member countries there will always be winners and losers. Brunei are tired of being at the bottom,” says Aminul, “where they can go is up to them from now on.”

The fact of the matter is Brunei is not a nation of sporting athletes and of the sports played, football dominates. Whatever cricket is played almost exclusively by expatriate children who tend to leave Brunei as soon as they pass their A Levels. The one place for a cricket pitch has to contend with footballers and baseballers using it far more regularly than the cricketers. There is no structured women’s cricket or school cricket. Cricket exists in the way that skateboarding exists.

“We and the new President and Vice-President of Brunei Darussalam Cricket Association (BDCA) are too committed to developing cricket and advancing all that has already happened to just let Brunei slide into nothing,” says ACC Development Manager Bandula Warnapura, “but they must know that nowadays membership of the ACC and ICC brings with it certain responsibilities and requirements which need to be fulfilled.”

Aminul in Brunei, not Italy

Aminul is the ACC Development Officer for both Brunei and Malaysia. “Malaysia’s situation is not that different to Brunei’s really, Malaysia has 60 times the population so it has 60 times more cricketers but in the areas outside Kuala Lumpur and Penang, there is hardly any cricket,” he says. “If cricket is not growing, it is shrinking. And once it is lost, it is very hard to start up again. Everyone tells me how cricket was the number 1 sport in Malaysia in the 1950s, front page and back page news. It is not that anymore. In the 1980s Malaysia were as good as Bangladesh at cricket, even when I was playing them in the mid 1990s they were tough opposition. But the children of those cricketers are not playing cricket. The test, the challenge, the pleasure for a coach is to work with players who are new to cricket, to develop them as cricketers and as human beings. Cricket still remains the best sport that I know for building a sense of character and team-spirit. I think once Education and Sports Ministries realise this, they will actively encourage cricket to be taken up by the young.”

The BDCA have created a detailed plan for women’s cricket and are going to arrange a big carnival for school cricket in September and will approach the Government for land to create a dedicated cricket ground as well as for an indoor facility.

“The BDCA development plan for 2011 is comprehensive. But the success will depend on the execution,” says Aminul. We wish them success.

Brunei Cricket Profile

Filed May 16th, 2011