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Growing Malaysia’s Cricket Uptake Among Students - Interview with The Malaysian Cricket Association

1. What is the current status of Malaysian cricket both locally and internationally?

In terms of ranking, the ICC (International Cricket Council) ranks Malaysia at 31st place in the Men's T20i (Twenty20 International) Team Rankings and 27th in the 50 Overs format. Our U19 men’s team was ranked among the top 4 in the Asian Region, while the Women's T20i Team is ranked 38. On the International Cricket Council Score Card Ranking, Malaysia ranks No. 3

The Women’s and Men’s teams national players are working hard towards improving the rankings respectively and we have in place many enhanced training programmes, with dedicated coaches. Malaysian Cricket Association expects the rankings to improve.

2. Can you tell us more about MCA’s role in developing cricket in Malaysia and a little bit about your partnership with YSD?

As the national governing body for cricket, the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) intends to ensure that cricket grows in leaps and bounds. To date, we have 1,600 schools participating in the sport; and out of this number, 650 schools are already playing hard-ball cricket in the MSSD (Majlis Sukan Sekolah Daerah) and MSSM (Majlis Sukan Sekolah Malaysia) cricket tournaments.

With the Ministry of Education’s resolute support, cricket has also been incorporated in national schools’ physical education syllabus. Given the growing exposure MCA is receiving, the partnership with YSD enables us to move forward at a faster pace.

As the beneficiary of Yayasan Sime Darby’s sponsorship, collaborating for the same aim of developing the Cricket Adiwira Programme and the National Cricket Development Programme for Girls and Women (NCDP), the MCA has been able to ensure streamlined and dedicated responsibilities through the appointment of new development officers whose primary tasks are to promote the Cricket Adiwira – a nationwide entry level programme - and to eventually take the Cricket Adiwira programme to a wider reach of schools. Under the YSD partnership, the schools are able to participate in the U12, U15 and U17 championships for girls.

To date, there are approximately 3,000 volunteers, comprising of former players, teachers and parents involved in growing cricket locally.

Cricket Adiwira is inherently an “influencer” for the sport at the grassroots level, especially for beginners. Through these groups, we hope to set the ground for sustainable development of cricket both nationally and internationally.

In addition, MCA endeavours to bring in like-minded partners. Our partnerships are rapidly growing and we have signed on livestreaming partners to broadcast matches around the globe which advertently boosts fan engagement.

3. How has COVID-19 affected both the Cricket Adiwira (CA) programme and the National Cricket Development Programme for Girls and Women (NCDP)?

The pandemic has brought all plans to an unexpected standstill. All physical training programmes mapped out for the National Cricket Development Programme for Girls and Women tournaments and training camps scheduled from January to March 2021, were further postponed as a result of the Movement Control Order (MCO) being extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cricket Adiwira programmes scheduled in schools physically were also cancelled as schools were closed. However, we minimised the impact as we quickly planned for ways of keeping the momentum alive.

4. How has MCA been navigating these challenges? Have you had to change strategies/goals to weather the effects of the pandemic and how?

For MCA, the focus and goals remain albeit with a change of strategy in some aspects.
Like most others, we too embarked on online courses, training programmes and even talk shows.

Through the necessary approvals from the Ministry of Education we conducted online courses for teachers in schools on the Cricket Adiwira programme, and engaged with the national players through various online fitness programmes for the National Cricket Development Programme for Girls and Women.

5. Have there been any silver linings for MCA during these trying times?

These trying times have afforded us the opportunities to work on other projects. During this period, we saw many interested parties wanting to come on board as our partners, and we have inked a few new partnerships thus far. In addition, we succesfully bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games qualifiers to be held in Malaysia.

The Cricket Adiwira programme won the ICC Asian Award. We signed on exclusive broadcasting rights, and it was during the lockdown period that YSD’s support commenced, and programmes were mapped out.

6. What keeps you going despite all the uncertainties and obstacles?

Uncertain times are temporary, and we choose to focus on our vision that is “To be a major sport in Malaysia”. This, coupled with the power of being able to offer a lifeline to young people while they build character through the sport, and seeing them succeed is motivation to keep us moving amidst these uncertain times.

Cricket breeds success, and indeed it has much to offer. We shall continue to make a difference in the lives of the young people especially at the grassroots level.

7. What are your hopes and dreams for Malaysian Cricket and the local sports industry in general?

Generally, we wish to see sports unite all Malaysians and that all sports be given equal growth opportunity. Our hope for Malaysian Cricket is to see every student play cricket.

In addition, through ICC and ACC, Malaysian Cricket Association has been relentless in working towards getting cricket to be played in the multi sports games, such SEA Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and are pushing boundaries to seek entry into the Olympic Games.

8. What is your message to aspiring cricket players out there?

To aspiring cricketers, although cricket was once known as a gentry sport, it is now made available to all. This is a golden opportunity to take up a sport that will open a world of opportunities for you. Our national players are proud ambassadors of the country. It is that special sense of pride ingrained that promotes patriotism.

Cricket Adiwira Carnival with the Ministry of Education; with Mr Mahinda Vallipuram (MCA President) and En. Zulkifli bin Nordin (Deputy Director, Sports Co-curriculum & Arts Division, Ministry of Education)
Cricket Adiwira Coaching Course for Selangor Teachers
Perak Cricket Adiwira Carnival with Malaysian Cricket Chief Operating Officer and Perak Cricket Association President

Girls training for Cricket Adiwira

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Last Updated:
15 Sep 2021
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