"For a batsman, the bat is your main weapon and the more you respect it, the better it helps with your cricket." Ajinkya Rahane

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Aminul Islam : Top Starter

Aminul Islam, 40, is a national hero in Bangladesh, forever to be associated with scoring Bangladesh’s first Test century in their Inaugural Test. Since retirement he has established himself as a coach and commentator in both Bangladesh and Australia. In September 2007 he became an Asian Cricket Council Development Officer.

"Things happen on the field or in practice which just leave you admiring the ability and the potential to be really good cricketers that all these countries have."
Rumesh Ratnayake: Sri Lankan Gem

Rumesh Ratnayake is an absolute legend. One of the players who put Sri Lanka on the map in the 1980s, he was renowned for his whole-hearted pace-bowling and big-hearted character. At his peak he was able to generate terrific bounce and pace and had the priceless ability to move the ball both ways in the air and off the pitch. His figures, good as they are, don't do him justice because he was often playing with injuries and playing for a team that was only just beginning to find its feet at international level. If he was playing today he'd undoubtedly be one of the world's leading all-rounders.

Since retiring as a player in 1993 he has been a national fast-bowling coach for Sri Lanka as well as coach of his old club Nondescripts in Colombo. He is a Level III certified coach and has been a Development Officer of the Asian Cricket Council since August 2001.

"It has been 16 years and I still can't make it back into the team!"
Suhrawadi Shuvo: Bangladesh Cricket’s Future Star

19-year-old Suhrawadi Shuvo’s dream of playing senior-level cricket is not very far from most Bangladeshi boys his age. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler has impressed many with his performances at the first-class level and was named captain of the side sent to Malaysia for the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in February 2008.

In his fifteen first-class matches up to then, he had taken 69 wickets and scored 384 runs with a top score of 72.

His three first-class matches saw him get 19 wickets, with two five-wicket hauls. An effective middle-order batsman, Shuvo represented his country at the 2006 U/19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. There he went on to take nine wickets in his six matches at an average of 14.44.

Paras Khadka: Leading From The Front

Paras Khadka, 20, is Nepal’s captain in the forthcoming U/19 World Cup. The World Cup souvenir program says Paras is “arguably good enough to be in the line-up of any of the Test-playing countries.” A member of the side which has beaten South Africa and New Zealand in previous U/19 World Cups, he is set to become an indispensable part of the Nepal senior set-up. He leads from the front with bat and ball and was a most gracious interviewee over coffee in Kathmandu.

"The luck is with those who are successful."
Buddhi Pradhan: Upright and Forthright

Nepal's Buddhi Pradhan, 34, "though my passport says I'm 32," is one of a new generation of Asian umpires who are achieving prominence around the world. Held in high esteem by colleagues and cricketers, he has officiated in 12 ODIs between Associate nations.

His decision-making and man-management are impressive. He calls it as he sees it and he sees it pretty well. In fact, his local district team don't like him to umpire in their matches because they know they will get absolutely no favours from him.
Damber Singh Gurung: Student and Master

Damber Singh Gurung, 27, has played a major part in Bhutan’s rise as a cricketing nation. National captain, youth-team coach and all-round lynchpin of Bhutan’s cricket development program, he talks to us in Chiang Mai where his U-15 team made it to the Final of the ACC U-15 Challenge Cup for the second year in a row.
Bangladesh's Big Hitter: Tajkia Akhtar

Tajkia Akhtar, 29, captain of Bangladesh’s Women’s Team, winners of the 2007 ACC Women’s Tournament, speaks about her love for the game and ambitions for her team and country.

“I did well in studies just so that I could play cricket.”
Binaya Raj Pandey: Cricket Diplomat

Binaya Raj Pandey became President of the Cricket Association of Nepal in September 2006, having previously been an Honorary Secretary of the Association for 39 years. Small in stature, soft-spoken and exquisitely mannered, he brings with him the shrewdest of minds, the most adroit diplomatic skills and an ability to slowly but surely, get things done.

We spoke to him in Kuala Lumpur soon after the start of his term in office when he sought to outline his plans to overhaul cricket in Nepal to the ACC Secretariat. On his return to Kathmandu things indeed started happening – major sponsorships were announced, domestic cricket was revamped and work was started on a new training centre for national cricketers.

“We can play in the World Cup”

Tamoor Sajjad: Teen Tyro

Back in August 2006, a 14-year old young Qatari came to Malaysia to play his first senior tournament. He was, by some distance, the youngest player in his team and was also the youngest player in the tournament. Yet he played the innings of the event during Qatar's quarter-final with UAE in the ACC Trophy.

Tamoor Sajjad's 53, against a formidable UAE eclipsed the efforts of the Saudi batsmen twice his age and size who had earlier made runs against those bowlers at the group stage. Why? Because it's not just the number of runs you make but how and when you make them that matters. This was the knock-out stage and the UAE, defending champions, were focussed on victory.
Romesh Kaluwitharana: Player With A Past, Coach With A Future

Romesh Kaluwitharana, 37, was Sri Lanka’s wicket-keeper batsman the year they won the World Cup. He played 49 Tests and 189 ODIs from 1992 to 2004. Renowned for the audacity of his shot-making, together with opening partner Sanath Jayasuriya, he revolutionised one-day batting at the start of an innings. Since retirement he has coached Colts C.C. in Sri Lanka while conducting a career as an insurance executive. He was appointed by Sri Lanka Cricket to be a member of the 2006 ACC Committee to Evaluate China.

“Some people are born with that talent and if these few are coached well they will definitely represent their country.”

Shahzada Masoud: Growing The Cricket Tribe

Shahzada Masoud, Minister of Tribal Affairs and President of the Afghanistan Cricket Federation, spent time with us in Kuala Lumpur when he accompanied the national team during the ACC Trophy. A man of considerable dignity and charisma, with an evident passion for both cricket and his country, he carries the flag for Afghanistan cricket with pride. He is 43 and lives in Kabul.

“Mr. Karzai knows that whenever I am not at my desk, I am at the cricket ground.”

Reading Roger Binny

ACC Development Officer Roger Binny, a World Cup winner with India and one of Asia’s most respected coaches talks to us about the on-going ACC Trophy and also gives his predictions on the outcome of the tournament...
John Bailey: Coaching The Process

John Bailey, 44, believes that attaining success in cricket is a process and that is what Malaysia need to do – work towards success.

“You don’t coach players, you coach people.”
Raees Ahmadzai: Leading Afghan Cricket

The Afghanistan captain comes to Malaysia to win the ACC Trophy.

“We’re going to play like we always do, by putting in one hundred percent in every single game.”
Iqbal Sikander: Developing The Game

Mr. Iqbal Sikander, World Cup winner and ACC Development Officer finds time to talk to us in the middle of his hectic schedule. Developing the game is what he has specialized in and he looks forward to the future of the game
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Hong Kong Girl Knocks Seniors For Six

Shurabhi Das, a 14-year old student at Hong Kong’s South Island School made ACC history last month by being the first female and the youngest person to ever attend an Umpiring Course. Moreover, she scored 96 out of 100 in the Umpires’ Elementary Examination, the highest ever.

“I would love to be an international umpire - maybe even get onto the ICC panel!-(and it would be great if I was the first/only woman umpire to be an international umpire)!”
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ACC Stars’ Words Of Wisdom

They wore our shirts with pride during the Standard Chartered Afro-Asia Cup, once it was explained to them what the ACC represents.

“From Afghanistan to China, at least a billion cricketers and sports fans look to Asia’s top cricketers for guidance and an understanding of what it takes to be a champion in life. You inspire so many with your actions. The ACC works to develop and promote the game throughout our twenty-two member nations and a lot of it is done through the work of ACC Development Manager Sultan Rana and ACC Development Officer Rumesh Ratnayake” (Asia’s coach for this tournament) “and all their colleagues but you, the international stars have the most powerful impact. A few words from you would do so much to inspire the next generation of cricketers to follow in your footsteps and be the best cricketers they could possibly be.”
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Spotlight on Kuwait: Ready, Willing and Able

Syed Ashraful Huq, ACC Chief Executive
Faisal Al-Marzouq, KCA Vice President
Matthew Kennedy, ICC Global Development Manager
Ricardo Lord. ICC Executive Committee Member

Kuwait are in the final stretch of their long quest for Associate Membership of the ICC. The journey for Kuwait started soon after the Second World War, when oil-field workers set up the foundations of the game there. It has been a steady climb upwards ever since then and now Kuwait stands on the verge of major cricketing recognition for their efforts to develop cricket. They have dedicated administrators, talented players, a developing infrastructure, grass wickets, committed local sponsors and, perhaps most importantly of all, the hunger and humility to take on board targetted advice from the ICC and ACC.

The other ICC Associates meet at Lord’s to adjudicate on Kuwait’s merits on the 26th of June.
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Mohammad Ashraful Khaled Mashud

Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ashraful and Khaled Mashud Development in Action

On the eve of Bangladesh’s first Test tour of England we caught up with stars Mohammad Ashraful and Khaled Mashud during training. Both players were quietly confident of putting up a good show.
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Keith McAuliffe, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute, consultants to the Asian Cricket Council on Grounds and Pitch Development

One has only to recall the landscapes featured in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies, which were shot in New Zealand to appreciate just how varied the terrain of that country is.

In New Zealand itself there has been a concern in recent years to preserve the bountiful richness of the soil that its inhabitants inherited, for deforestation and inappropriate land use have eroded many of its life-sustaining qualities. Attention to the problems of ground maintenance in their own country has literally created a cadre of New Zealand experts who understand the issues faced by groundsmen the world over.

The New Zealand Sports Institute (NZSTI) are world leaders in the field of curatorship and their proven excellence has been harnessed by the Asian Cricket Council for a number of years now. The association between the two bodies has now been formally extended through to 2008.

“Without quality playing surfaces you cannot have quality cricket.”
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Signor Passione
Simone Gambino, President of La Federazione Cricket Italiana

A man who epitomises what ICC President-elect Percy Sonn cites as “the passion and energy necessary to carry cricket forward into the 21st century”, Simone Gambino speaks authoritatively about the challenges facing the countries in which cricket is a minority sport.

Having attended every ICC AGM since 1984, he is one of the most experienced administrators in world cricket. The ACC Chief Executive suggested Simone Gambino be interviewed by us, saying “he is quite a colourful character at these meetings.” Quite an understatement.

We spoke during Italy’s game against Nepal in the ICC World Cup Qualifying Series in Kuala Lumpur.

“Cricket is a matter of culture.”

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Cricket Warrior
Taj Malik Alam, Secretary General of the Afghan Cricket Federation and National Coach.

If there was ever a prize given in the cricket world for playing with the most passion then Afghanistan would win it by a mile. They play with an uninhibited freedom and desire to belt the ball into distant territories and blast stumps into smithereens that is rather refreshing. They play cricket the way it was originally designed to be played – as ‘a see ball, hit ball’ game with all considerations of tactical nuance and fine shadings to be the province of teams that can’t do what they do.

“Other teams are scared to play us.”
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The ABC from Zed
Zaheer Abbas, Pakistani Legend

In a sixteen-year international career, Zaheer Abbas stood out as one of the world’s premier batsmen. The only Asian batsman to score 100 first-class hundreds, he made over 5000 Test runs and over 2500 ODI runs (with averages for both in the mid-40s). Since retirement he has concentrated on a business career but has nevertheless found time to be Pakistan’s U-15 batting coach, a coach of PIA, an ICC Match Referee and a National Selector.
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Little Big Man
Anish Param, Singapore U-15 Captain

The Jesuits have a saying : “Give me the child at seven and I will show you the man”. Whatever Anish Param was at seven, at the age of fourteen he is already demonstrating the maturity and self-assurance of a seasoned cricketer.
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Captain Fantastic
Suresh Navaratnam, Captain of Malaysia

Malaysia’s captain Suresh Navaratnam, 29, undeniably the best all-rounder Malaysia has ever produced, talks about his journey up from the grass-roots to playing alongside the world’s best cricketers – all within the space of ten years.

“Cricket has been good to me.”

Missionary Man
Tim Anderson, ICC Development Manager

On a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur, Tim Anderson, the ICC East Asia-Pacific Regional Development Manager, talked about his role as the region’s premier cricket missionary.

It used to be only the most intrepid or zealous who would dare to introduce something new to the countries in this region, be it for religious or commercial motives. Several of these hardy gentlemen were even killed in the line of duty.
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Poacher and Gamekeeper
Venu Ramadass, ACC and Malaysia

Malaysian national squad member and current captain of Selangor State, Venu Ramadass, 27, talks about life as a player for a developing cricketing nation and as an executive for The Asian Cricket Council.

“I am very proud to be a Malaysian and there is no better feeling than representing your beloved country."
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The Godfather
Roy Dias, Coach of Nepal

His players call him ‘The Godfather’. Former Sri Lankan batting great Roy Dias, currently coach of Nepal, speaks candidly about the challenges facing him and his team.

“I was asked by a BBC journalist after Nepal won the U-19 ACC Trophy in Kathmandu (his first tournament in charge of the team) ‘how do they even play cricket in Nepal, aren’t there hills everywhere? ’"
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