India to help the Maldives improve cricketing standards

NEW DELHI: India plans to go the whole nine yards to develop Cricket in the Maldives.

It will help the island nation bring its national cricket team to international standards, build a stadium there and also train umpires and scorekeepers, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Thursday.

This is in response to a recent request by the President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who is a cricket buff.

“They have requested us to run a coaching programme for young players, both men and women, in India. We are also willing to run some training programmes in the Maldives,” Gokhale said, briefing journalists on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June 8-9 visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

He said India could build a cricket stadium in the Maldives under a Line of Credit or through some other mode of financial assistance said. India has already supplied cricket kits to the island nation.

“We hope the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) takes additional responsibility in this regard. This is an important people-to-people issue. We did it for Afghanistan too,” the foreign secretary said.

A BCCI team, led by former cricketer, Saba Karim visited the Maldives in May to chart out a roadmap to develop cricket there. Karim is BCCI’s general manager (operations). Solih visited Bengaluru in April for an Indian Premier League (IPL) match. Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni presented autographed jerseys of their teams to the president on the sidelines of the match.

The Cricket Board of Maldives governs the sport in that country. The Maldives became a member of the Asian Cricket Council in 1996 and followed it up with affiliate membership of the International Cricket Council two years later.

First Published:
Jun 06, 2019 20:55 IST

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