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Asad Baig: Mr. Kuwait CricketMirza Mohammad Asad Baig, 58, commonly known as Asad Baig, has long been the go-to man for all things related to Kuwait cricket. A resident of Kuwait for 33 years, from the start he has been actively involved in playing and managing teams in the country in a role that has grown progressively more significant as Kuwait’s cricket has developed. Currently Director-General of Kuwait Cricket, he spoke to us when he was in Kuala Lumpur as manager of the Kuwait team in the 2009 ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship.
"We are proud to be the only country in the Middle East to have four turf pitches, with a fifth in construction now."
Aftab Habib: Coaching And WinningAftab Habib, 37, a former England international, started coaching Hong Kong in November 2007. Since then Hong Kong have won the 2008 ACC Trophy Elite, the 2009 ACC U-19 Elite Cup and the 2009 ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship and put up a strong showing in the 2007-2008 cycle of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League. A dedicated, passionate coach, he has impressed many with his ability to get the best out of his players and is definitely a talent to watch.
He spoke to us in Kuala Lumpur, during the recent ACC Women’s Twenty20.
“You need to put in hard work to make use of talent.”
Mamatha Maben: Guiding China’s Women CricketersA national player between 1993 and 2005, Mamatha Maben captained India in her last two years as a cricketer. Having been appointed coach of the Chinese women's national team, on the recommendation of the Indian Board, she has a unique role that requires her not only to coach the team, but to encourage women to take up the game in the People's Republic.
At China's first warm-up game, at the Kinrara Oval, in the build up to the ACC Women's Twenty20 Championship, Ms. Maben sat down for an interview with the ACC.
"China being a part of the cricketing community adds to the brand value of international cricket."
Sarika Prasad: Spotlight On The Invisible ManSarika Siva Prasad, 49, is one of the world’s rising umpiring talents. Originally from Visakhapatnam, India he has been in Singapore since 1995, originally going there "in search of cricketing opportunities."
An umpire for 22 years, he has officiated in the Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2009 in South Africa, the Women’s World Cup 2009 in Sydney, the ICC U/19 World Cup 2008 in Malaysia and the ICC Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers last year as well as many ACC tournaments, most recently, the U-19 Elite Cup in Kuwait in April 2009.
"A good umpire needs to be as invisible as possible."
Tunku Imran: Malaysian MeritoriousTunku Imran, 61, President of the Malaysian Cricket Association is an administrator of many parts1. A keen cricketer in his youth (and still playing at 58), he has been President of the World Squash Federation, is on the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, was instrumental in having Malaysia host the Commonwealth Games in 1998 (where cricket was played for the first time at the event) and has been Vice-President of the ACC, and Executive Board member of both the ACC and ICC. He has also batted with the great Garry Sobers.
He spoke to us in Kuala Lumpur, the day after he was chosen as this year’s recipient of the International Cricket Council’s Lifetime Service Award.
"We need to show that cricket is good for Malaysians"
Ujjwal Acharya: Eye On NepalKrishna Prasad Acharya, 30, commonly known as 'Ujjwal', is Nepal's leading cricket correspondent. He is to be found in print, online, on television, on radio practically on a daily basis. He pioneered online cricket coverage in Nepal in 2001 and since then has kept Nepal's legion of fans inside and outside the country in touch with "the most popular sport in the country." He has fed the interest in Nepali cricket, he has fanned the interest in Nepali cricket. His insightful, diligent, fair-mindedness coupled with his tireless enthusiasm has made him the go-to-person for informed, enlightened commentary on cricket in Nepal. He spoke to us in Kathmandu.
"The whole country is crazy for cricket. Even in the mountains they play the game."
Kabir Khan: Advancing AfghanistanKabir Khan, 34, a former Pakistan international cricketer has been coaching Afghanistan since October 2008. In that time, they have won ICC World Cricket League Division 4 and the ACC U-17 Challenge.
He spoke to us on the eve of his team’s departure to Argentina for ICC World Cricket League Division 3, where a top two finish will take Afghanistan to the verge of qualification for World Cup 2011.
“It is raw talent because there is no real infrastructure back there.”
Diviya G K: Singapore StarDiviya G K, 21, is Singapore's most prominent woman cricketer. She studies Clinical Science at Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia. Ambitious to the nth degree, her enthusiasm for the game and life in general is prodigious.
She is an object lesson on how to combine high-level studies with high-level sports. She reflects on her achievements so far and looks forward to further goals.
"Discipline is key, nothing comes easy. Work for what you desire."
Natasha Cherriath: Emirates High-FlyerNatasha Cherriath, 14, was 12 years old when she was appointed UAE captain in the 2007 ACC Women's Tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. She was more of a bowler then, distinguished by her grace under pressure and accurate medium-pace. Those qualities were still on display in the recently concluded ACC U-19 Women's Championship and to them were added a thumping off-drive and terrific batting technique. She finished Batter of the Tournament with 121 runs at 30.25. She is on her way to being one of the best cricketers in Asia.
Natasha Cherriath spoke to us in Chiang Mai and, following the conclusion of the U-19 tournament, online from her home in Dubai.
"Although some of my friends dislike the game, I still think it's amazing."
Parn Poshyanonda: Thailand's First Cricketer
His has been a colourful life. Since retirement from business he has been instrumental in creating conditions for quality cricket in Thailand – for Thais and visitors. He is a certified Level IV curator and Level I coach. He carries his eminence lightly. He has sacrificed much for cricket, including all his teeth, but his passion for the game has literally sown the seeds for future generations of Thai cricketers.
He spoke to us in his adopted home town of Chiang Mai, in an accent that swung from plummiest English to lilting Thai as befit the varying topics under discussion.
"I am very happy and proud when I see Thai boys wear the shirt of Thailand playing cricket."
Rashid Khan: The Real Deal In ChinaRashid Khan, 48, has been China’s national cricket coach since November 2006. Noted for his unorthodox ‘wrong-foot’ delivery, he played four Tests and 29 One-Day Internationals for Pakistan between 1980 and 1985 as a fast-bowler. Since retirement he has coached Pakistan U-19, the PCB Patron’s XI, PIA and Karachi Harbour sides with considerable success. He spoke to us in Chiang Mai, where he was with the U-17 China side, about what he sees as his greatest challenge yet.
"I’ve played with the greats, coached teams with great players and now I have a chance to do something really great."
Bandula Warnapura: Managing DevelopmentBandula Warnapura, 55, is the Asian Cricket Council’s third Development Manager, taking the post in July 2008 following a successful administrative career in Sri Lanka.
He played with distinction for Sri Lanka before they achieved Test status and was their first captain in Tests and ODIs. He has been an ICC match referee, is a Level IV certified coach as well as being a Board-qualified Umpire.
After a spell as National Coach, in 1994 he became Sri Lanka’s Director of Coaching and since 2001 he has been their Director of Cricket Operations. He was Tournament Director of ICC U/19 World Cup 2006.
He speaks at length on the challenges facing him and the ACC from his office in the Kuala Lumpur Secretariat.
"With the ACC, I am seeing other countries go through the same stages Sri Lanka went through."
Tabarak Dar: Leading From the FrontTabarak Dar, 32, has been Hong Kong's captain since 2006. Originally from Pakistan, he came to Hong Kong with his family as a teenager and has been immersed in the territory's cricket ever since. He is a full-time coach employed by the Hong Kong Cricket Association. He led his team in the 2008 Asia Cup with some distinction, opening the batting and impressing with his grace under pressure.
He spoke to us in Kuala Lumpur, as his team prepared for the 2008 ACC Trophy Elite.
"Cricket has a lot to do with mental strength."
Sultan Rana: Moving OnSultan Rana resumed service at the Pakistan Cricket Board in April 2008, after three years as the Asian Cricket Council’s Development Manager.
We spoke to him prior to his departure.
"Cricket teaches you a lot about character and discipline."