The ACC U-19 Youth Asia Cup is here once again, and this time the games will be held in the heart of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur. The ACC Under 19 Asia Cup is a cricket tournament organized by the Asian Cricket Council, designed as an effort to grow cricket within the emerging nations. It is also a form of development program to further propel these nations’ performance in cricket, using tournaments with test nations as a platform for improvement. Mr. Sultan Rana, the ACC Events & Development Manager concurs that ACC holds the opportunity for emerging cricket nations to “practice, prepare and improve their skills” to go against professional cricket nations.
During his recent visit to Malaysia for SEA Games 2017, he finds Malaysia to be one of the few emerging countries to possess good infrastructure to house international tournaments. Malaysia strengthens their upper hand as they’ve good record of organizing international tournaments and other prominent international games successfully.
The first Youth Asia Cup was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2012, where the 1st placing was shared by India and Pakistan after a tied match. The second edition of the cup was in 2013/2014 in United Arab Emirates and India emerged as winners, this time defeating Pakistan by 40 runs in the finals. In 2016 Sri Lanka hosted the third edition, where India won once again after defeating the host nation by 34 runs.
The 2017 Youth Asia Cup will see games between India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan, soon joined by another team from the Western Region qualifiers that will commence on the 30th of October.
Games will play at three venues; Kinrara Oval, Bayuemas Oval and Royal Selangor Club, from the 11th to the 19th of November.
“The art of spinning lies in a good arm-wrist position and a good release-spin technique,” says Mr Venkatapathy Raju, a former India left-arm spinner, who is here at the Kinrara Oval to train 8 spinners in the Malaysia National Cricket Men’s team.
It’s a balmy morning and the national cricket team is already hard at ‘work’ on the field, although amidst the shouts and roars of the players, it does sound like a lot of fun. Heading the training session this morning are several coaches, who are also getting a refreshing grip on spinning techniques from Raju.
“Every player is different but the basic technique is the same. Once a player understands his skills and strengths, the player can evolve his spin technique to his own winning style,” Raju says further.
Venkatapathy Raju played for India, debuting in 1990 against New Zealand in 1990 and his last test game was against Australia in 2001. Nicknamed Muscles for his very strong bowling arm, Raju is a finger-spinner, capitalizing on his own developed techniques that took India into victory in 1990 and 1991. Retiring from first-class cricket in 2004, Raju is now touring Asia as a guest coach, and Malaysia is very privileged to have him fine-tune and polish the national team’s bowling skills.
“Most Asian players are small-built compared to Western players, so they must know their own strength in wicket-taking and controlling the game. It’s not just throwing a ball, there is strategy and thinking behind every bowl.”
Malaysia’s national cricket teams will play against Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia in the upcoming 29th SEA Games 2017 in August.