ACC Development Officer for Maldives Rumesh Ratnayake, accompanied by Maldives ACC Level III coach Imad Ismail, embarked from Malé for the atoll of Hinnavaru to conduct a Level I coaching course earlier this month. “It took three hours and 10 minutes, by high-speed boat. I doubt that I will ever take that route again,” said Rumesh, who was buffeted by the choppy Indian Ocean in a way he has never hitherto been.

Once on terra firma Rumesh and Imad took 12 participants from Hinnavaru and Fuvahmulah through the five-day coaching program. Based at a school compound and teachers’ training centre in Hinnavaru, the former Sri Lankan international who has also coached Sri Lanka says that, “in my opening remarks I highlighted the importance of a good coach and the advantage one would have after knowing the coaching systems. I also showed the participants that this Level I would be a pathway for them to develop themselves into the Level II and Level III coaching courses of the ACC.”

The program ended with a game between a Coaches’ XI and Hinnavuru’s cricketers, which the Coaches won off the last ball of the match. In his closing remarks, the pace-bowling guru highlighted that “the participants were very keen and interested and did well and hoped they will continue in this manner in the future. I also stressed the importance of them having cricket in the schools in the islands and to have a club structure like that of Malé the capital.”

During his eight-day visit to the Maldives Rumesh had the opportunity to assess the general cricket development of the islands, and was pleased to hear that the Cricket Board of Maldives is winning public and state recognition for its activities in spreading the game. “Distance between the populated islands remains a problem but thanks to television people have switched on to the IPL which is a breakthrough,” he says. Sri Lankan coaches have been active in the islands at all levels for more than a decade and Nilantha Cooray has just been appointed as national coach, with a particular focus on schools and club cricket.

The Maldives cricketers’ next ACC assignment, after a fair showing at the ACC Twenty20 Cup in Nepal is the U-19 Challenge in Thailand in December.

Maldives Cricket Profile

Filed May 16th, 2013