"In our post-colonial times, cricket is spreading far more successfully than during the days of the Empire that invented the game." Shashi Tharoor

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With the national team impressing in the World Cup, and the U-19s already established as a force to watch, the next batch of Afghan national prospects is being sought out. Former national captain/national coach/national selector and current UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Raees Ahmadzai heads AYCSO (Afghan Youth Cricket Support Organisation), an NGO supported by Afghan Connection and MCC dedicated to boosting the positive impact of cricket across Afghanistan. He is currently engaged in training 112 boys aged between 16 and 19 years in Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan. "It is tiring, I am exhausted, I am also very happy to see the talent that is here," says Mr. Ahmadzai.

Asia's 2014 Development Winners
In a modified version of the scheme which has been running since 2002, the Pepsi ICC Development Programme Annual Awards now has six categories recognising exceptional achievement in the field of cricket development. This year’s winners from the Asian region reveal new and worthy candidates, many of whom could have won in previous years too, such has been the rigorous, consistent and excellent manner of their work.


Buddhi And Sarika On Top For Ten
Umpires Sarika Prasad of Singapore and Buddhi Pradhan of Nepal have been named on the ICC Associate and Affiliate Panel for the tenth consecutive year. Sarika and Buddhi will be assigned to ODI and T20I matches involving Associate and Affiliate Members, ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers and ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers, as well as ICC Intercontinental Cup matches, the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship and Divisions, and other Associate and Affiliate tournaments.

Qatar's 400
Close to 400 boys from 12 schools in Qatar have taken part in a day-long camp at the spartan West Bay grounds in Dafna. The camp was aimed at identifying nascent talent among the children aged between 8 and 12. 10 local coaches were involved. Qatar Cricket Association's Manzoor Ahmad expressed his delight at the big number turning up for the camp. "We’re delighted that such a huge number of boys showed their interest in cricket. All the trainees displayed their keenness to improve their cricketing skills and sense."
A Chance To Live The Dream
The last ACC Twenty20 in 2013 resulted in Hong Kong and Nepal joining Afghanistan and UAE in the World Twenty20 Qualifier. After winning through that qualifier, and reaching the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 all four countries have maintained their position – and ability – to challenge for places in the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India. The winner of this year’s ACC Twenty20 Cup goes up, just like the other four ACC nations, to be just a few more victories away from a global event. "As a player it's what you dream of whenever you play, whenever you watch, whenever you see, hear or meet an international cricketer," says Malaysia’s Shafiq Sharif.
Some Corner Of A Foreign Atoll
The ACC's Venkatapathi Raju has just returned from a place he had never thought he would ever go, a place he had not even heard of until a month ago, a place that he was pleasantly astounded to find, has cricket. Kunahandhoo on the southern tip of Laamu Atoll, 260 kilometres south of Malé, as part of the Milo Atoll Youth Development Program hosted a cricket tournament, one where the girls beat the boys. "To see the simple joy of cricket, where people are playing for the pure fun of the game is very heartening," says the ACC Development Officer.
Chinese Umpires Activated In Hong Kong
"If I can get just five or six to take it to the next level, then we'll have done very well," so said Chairman of the Hong Kong Umpires Association Anoop Gidwani. An active umpire himself, Mr. Gidwani was assisting ACC Umpiring Resource Person Mahboob Shah during a recent Level I Umpiring Course held at both the Hong Kong Cricket Club (outdoor module) and Kowloon Cricket Club (indoor modules).
China's Women Tour Sri Lanka
China's women's squad has completed a tour of Sri Lanka. The tourists played six Twenty20 matches against strong women’s teams from the Sri Lankan armed forces, many of whose players make up the island's national squad. "Going from -25 degrees in north China to +25 degrees in Sri Lanka, it took us one game to adjust, but after that I was very happy with the way we played," says China's coach Manjurul Islam. "We took our opponents deep into the 20 overs in three of our matches when they chased," he added.
Umpires Up A Notch In Qatar
The Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) has held a significant Level 0 Umpiring Course in Doha. Many of the 27 participants were local school games teachers. "As cricket grows in Qatar, it needs to be organised and with that there needs to come a proper understanding not just of the Laws of the game but also the way they come into practice," says ACC Development Officer for Qatar Iqbal Sikander, "as such, encouraging and monitoring the newcomers as they grow into officiating at matches is very important."
Nepal In The Frame With Raju And Rumesh
ACC Development Officers Venkatapathi Raju and Rumesh Ratnayake have completed a specialist bowling workshop in Nepal. "We wanted to add just a few of those 'one-percenters' to the spinners and fast-bowlers ahead of (Pepsi ICC World Cricket League) Division 2," says Rumesh. Promotion from Division 2, and Nepal are within striking distance of World Cup 2019 and Test-status.
Kuwait On The Calendar
An ACC Level I Coaching Course has been held in Kuwait, one which promises significant progress. The 18 candidates were made up of six men’s and women's national team players and local schoolteachers. "They have promised to start cricket in their (Arab) schools," says ACC Development Officer Aminul Islam.
Thailand In The Medals
After being a demonstration sport in 2012, cricket has featured as a medal sport for the first time in Thailand's National Games. Thailand joins Malaysia and Nepal as the only ACC members to have cricket as a part of their state sporting championships. "It is a terrific achievement, and a sign that cricket has truly established itself in the Thai sporting landscape," says ACC Development Officer for Thailand Venkatapathi Raju.
ACC Management Forum In Kuala Lumpur
The ACC has held its third Management Forum, following the ones in 2004 and 2011. The Forum was designed to help ACC Region Associate and Affiliate nation Chief Executives and Finance Managers identify and develop ideal practises. The ACC Managers all made presentations during the four-day event. The ICC's Head of Global Development Tim Anderson made the first Keynote Address – The Changing World of Cricket - and Finance and Data Manager Ammar Shaikh presented twice. Singapore Cricket Association President and ICC Board Member KH Imran spoke on the opening day of the "uncertainties that lie ahead in these challenging times for the Associates and Affiliates."

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