Crick­eters to get a ‘ton’ of help

New Straits Times - - Sport -

THE Malaysian Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (MCA) can ex­pect more gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance af­ter Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din held them up as an ex­am­ple for oth­ers to fol­low.

MCA have had to fend largely for them­selves over the past decade but that has not pre­vented the na­tional body from de­vel­op­ing their own head­quar­ters and play­ing venue at the Kin­rara Oval.

Although the land on which MCA sit is leased from a prop­erty de­vel­oper, Khairy com­mended the as­so­ci­a­tion led by Mahinda Val­lipu­ram for the im­prov­ing per­for­mances of the men’s na­tional cricket team and work be­ing done at the grass­roots.

This led to Khairy agree­ing to MCA’s re­quest for cricket to make its de­but in the Sea Games this year.

“We re­ward per­for­mances and one of the rea­sons I agreed with Mahinda’s re­quest for cricket to be in­cluded in the Sea Games is be­cause MCA and the men’s na­tional team have shown tremen­dous im­prove­ment over the last few years,” said Khairy dur­ing a visit to the Kin­rara Oval yes­ter­day.

“It’s only fair for us to give them the stage at the Sea Games for the Malaysian pub­lic to see how far cricket has come. With that also comes sup­port.

“Of course, a lot of this has been de­vel­oped by MCA on their own but with the im­proved per­for­mance we have to re­ward them.

“That’s why just for the re­fur­bish­ment ahead of the Sea Games, the gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted more than RM1.2 mil­lion to up­grade the Kin­rara Oval and com­ple­ment what the MCA has done.”

Among the up­grad­ing work done at the Sea Games cricket venue is the ren­o­va­tion of the dress­ing rooms, in­creas­ing seat­ing ca­pac­ity to 1,500 and top dress­ing of the wicket with Dar­win clay.

“I think hav­ing cricket at the Sea Games here will boost its pro­file and I’m sure they will bring back some gold medals,” said Khairy.

Cricket of­fers three gold medals at the Sea Games in the men’s and women’s Twenty20 com­pe­ti­tions and the men’s 50overs event with MCA tar­get­ing both the men’s gold medals.

“We are very grate­ful to be in the Sea Games and we should do bet­ter than our best,” said Val­lipu­ram. “I’m con­fi­dent our men and women will be able to do it.”

Ear­lier, Khairy un­veiled a plaque hon­our­ing for­mer MCA pres­i­dent Tunku Im­ran Tuanku Ja’afar and the nam­ing of MCA’s Hall of Fame as the “Im­ran State­room.” Devin­der Singh

BER­NAMA PIC

Sports Min­is­ter Khairy Ja­malud­din in­spect­ing the Kin­rara Oval which is to be the cricket venue for the KL Sea Games in Pu­chong yes­ter­day.

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