Foreign-born rule loosened
THE Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) loosened their policy on foreign-born players representing the country after recalling Khizar Hayat Durrani for the World League Division Three campaign in Uganda on May 23-30.
Pakistan-born Khizar impressed the national selectors with both bat and ball while playing for Penang in the recentlyconcluded Malaysian Premier League, scoring three half-centuries in seven matches and taking 11 wickets at an average of 20.27.
Khizar’s last appearance for Malaysia was the ACC Twenty20 Cup in February 2015 though he played a prominent role in Malaysia’s promotion from Division Five and Division Four in 2014.
With no major tournaments over the past two years, however, MCA elected to field all-local sides in various bilateral series against Singapore and tour matches, as well as at the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Dhaka in March.
But with a place in the 2018 Division Two at stake, MCA president Mahinda Vallipuram stressed the importance of Malaysia fielding their best side.
“The selectors have brought Khizar back but where and how he is used is up to the coach (Bilal Asad),” said Vallipuram.
“The Division Three tournament is very crucial because it is a pathway to the 2018 Cricket World Cup qualifiers. If we miss out on promotion this time, it’s a long wait to the next cycle.”
Aside from Khizar, MCA selectors recalled vice-captain Anwar Arudin and Anwar Abdul Rahman after both missed the Emerging Teams Asia Cup while newcomer Che Wan Razlan Che Wan Zalati is the back-up wicketkeeper to Shafiq Sharif.
Malaysia face Singapore in the opening match on May 23 in Kampala before taking on the United States (May 24), Canada (May 26), Uganda (May 27) and Oman (May 29).
The top two teams after the completion of the round-robin league will be promoted to Division Two and the bottom two relegated to Division Four.
The squad leaves tomorrow for Nairobi where they will play warm-up games against Kenya, Singapore and Oman to acclimatise to the conditions.
SQUAD: Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor (capt), Aminudin Ramly, Pavandeep Singh, Derek Michael Duraisingam, Che Wan Razlan Che Wan Zalati, Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak, Wafiq Irfan Zarbani, Shukri Abdul Rahim, Anwar Arudin, Virandeep Singh, Anwar Abdul Rahman, Fikri Makram Wan Rosdi, Shafiq Sharif (wk), Khizar Hayat Durrani. Devinder Singh