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HARNAM SINGH: THEN AND NOW



Singapore’s Kallang Ground

The Padang

What are the grounds that Singapore has?
We have Kallang, the Padang ground and the IA ground. The Indian Association ground is just about all right but is not an international ground because the shortest boundary is 60 yards. That is not conformed to international standards. What we are doing is we are on the verge of getting a ground which is a very big plot of land where we can put in four pitches. We are still in the midst of negotiations of that though. As the Vice President of Singapore Cricket Association, my role is also to look into the facilities and the ground development.

How long have you been involved with the Indian Association? How do you feel when you see Singapore playing international cricket?
It’s been coming up to 50 years now. I don’t get involved emotionally when I watch cricket. I always feel that the team who plays better should win. At the end of the day I just watch and say a word or two. I would like my team to win but if they can’t then it’s OK as well.

Singh with Bahrain’s Tahir Dar, 2009 ICC World Cricket League Division 6, Singapore

What are your formal qualifications in cricket?
I have an ACC and Cricket Australia Level I coaching accreditation. I did a specialist curator course which was also sponsored by the ACC. There were four modules and it took a week for each module.

How many times have you been the Singapore manager?
I have managed the age-group teams a couple of times. I think about five or six times. Actually (SCA Deputy President) Mahmood Gaznavi is the regular manager but if he’s busy, I step in.

How did you get elected as the Vice President of the SCA? Is it an honorary position or are you voted in?
The clubs actually voted me in. Before I became Vice President I never used to hold office. About three years ago I took up a small position which was called the Individual Members Representative which is an executive position. I represent all the clubs and I was voted in and then in 2008 I stood for Vice President and I won it and since then I’ve been unopposed.

What’s the voting set-up for the SCA?
There are only 13 senior clubs of the 100 or so that play which have got voting rights. The rest are the current executive committee and some honorary members. So there are 23 votes in total.

Who have been the best players you’ve seen playing for Singapore over the years?
I think that would be a Sri Lankan, Marlon Vonhagt, who is a cousin of our new coach Marvan Atapattu. He played in Singapore but not for the national team because he didn’t qualify. He played in my team with me and he played one ODI and was 12th man for a Test at Lord’s. He was the best to play in Singapore but he played only one season and at the end of the season he said something to me that made me very proud. He said, “I like to face your bowling” to which I replied “If you want to face my bowling you have to play for another club.”

Singapore, 2009 Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 6 winners

Has the standard of play improved since you played? Do you think the team from back then could beat the current Singapore team?
Yes it has. I think the current team will win. The standard has really risen and the game has changed a lot since then. The format has also changed, it was 60 overs then. I was a batsman in the team but also very good on the field.

What was the fitness regime back then?
We just practiced the game. There was no gym or anything. During those days when you played cricket, you could not have a drink unless an hour of play was completed as no one realized how important it was to rehydrate constantly.

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