Malaysia in­vited for World Cup

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE Malaysian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion’s (MCA) dream of the na­tional team play­ing at a World Cup has been re­alised three years early.

An in­vi­ta­tion for both the men’s and women’s teams to play at the Indoor Cricket World Cup in Dubai on Sept 16-23 from the World Indoor Cricket Fed­er­a­tion (WICF) has been ac­cepted by MCA with Malaysia join­ing seven Test-play­ing na­tions, Sin­ga­pore and the United Arab Emi­rates at the tour­na­ment.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing that indoor cricket is not held in same es­teem as the tra­di­tional for­mat of the sport, MCA pres­i­dent Mahinda Val­lipu­ram said the op­por­tu­nity to play at a World Cup was too good to pass up.

“Indoor cricket has dif­fer­ent rules and for­mat but I am sur­prised at how quickly our play­ers have adapted to the new for­mat and with great en­thu­si­asm,” said Val­lipu­ram, re­fer­ring to the Na­tional Indoor Cham­pi­onship held last Novem­ber, in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

“This is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for Malaysia to play at a World Cup and comes three years be­fore our tar­get of mak­ing it to the Twenty20 World Cup in 2020.

“This comes af­ter many firsts for Malaysian cricket, in­clud­ing in­clu­sion in the Sea Games and an in­vi­ta­tion to play at the ACC Emerg­ing Teams Cup. While we are happy to play, we also need to be de­liv­er­ing re­sults.”

WICF chair­man Greg Don­nelly was in Kuala Lumpur to con­firm MCA’s mem­ber­ship of the Dubai-based gov­ern­ing body and ex­tend the in­vi­ta­tion to play at the World Cup.

Na­tional team cap­tain Ah­mad Faiz Mo­ham­mad Noor said the ben­e­fits of play­ing indoor cricket, with its re­duced play­ing sur­face, shorter in­nings and eight-a-side teams, is wide rang­ing.

“Play­ing indoor cricket is not so much about skills but much more about strat­egy,” said Faiz. “It helps me as a cap­tain in fig­ur­ing out how to win games. The mo­ti­va­tion to win games is al­ways there when­ever you are given the op­por­tu­nity.”

MCA plan to or­gan­ise three indoor tour­na­ments to help se­lec­tors form the na­tional teams and pre­pare for the World Cup.

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