Saw Pong Curator Maung Maung with the MCF’s Than Win, Nyunt Win and Ashfaq-ul-Islam. Akhter Abowath and Michael Moosajee are in the background

Myanmar have inaugurated their new cricket ground at Saw Pong in Yangon yesterday, Cricket Federation President U Nyunt Win along with his fellow administrators, planting the ceremonial first flower on the boundary’s edge. “It was a great day for us, finally we have a ground we can call our own,” said Mr. Win.

The MCF President, a left-handed dasher and fast bowler in his day, played the bulk of his cricket 8000 feet above sea-level on a makeshift ground in Darjeeling, “this new ground in Myanmar will be of international size and I would like it to host visiting teams of other countries for proper matches once it is completed in 2011,” he says. “Myanmar cricket has a good future, we have 24 school teams of boys and girls in Yangon, 18 in Mandalay and 12 in Taungyi and we are hoping to start next in Bago. A ground like this will offer all in the country a centre to play in and we hope to organise more and more local tournaments,” says Mr. Win who has used his role as one of the leading actors, producers and directors in Myanmar, to popularise cricket. (Bo Ba directed by Mr. Win, a Burmese remake of ‘Lagaan’, was a nationwide hit in 2009).

“What has been the biggest problem for Myanmar is not that it doesn’t want to play cricket, it is that there are so few places for them to play,” says national coach Ashfaq-ul-Islam. “This ground will focus attention, there’s an indoor hall next to it, so that when I call the cricketers (and so many of them come from so far to play and practise) even when it rains we can be active.”

The land has been donated by the Myanmar government, “after a long period of negotiation,” says Mr. Win. He would not be drawn on how many kyats it was eventually going to cost but affirmed, “the ground is there for anybody who wishes to play cricket. As long as there is cricket in Myanmar this ground will be with us.”

Myanmar Cricket Profile
Myanmar Get A Ground

Filed November 4th, 2010