Some Scanned Documents of Cricket in Maldives:
Cricket has a long history in the Maldives. A form of cricket called “Filaagandu Boalha” (Wood plank ball) was introduced to the Maldives around 1880 by a scholar who returned from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The game was progressively adopted over these years. Formal cricket rules and regulations were first introduced around 1920. The year also marked the formation of the first cricket club in the Maldives, the Male’ Cricket Club. At that time cricket was played in palace courtyards, on the streets and open spaces and was very much an elite sport. Organised matches were played between visiting teams of British naval vessels. The first of these matches was played in 1931 between a Male’ (capital city) team and the visiting HMS Enterprise team. Cricket skills were brought to the country mainly by scholars and other high ranking Maldivians who returned from Sri Lanka. They played a key role in introducing the game and its skills to Maldivians. The first government organized training programmes were begun in the 1960s. In March 1969 a training programme was launched for the first time with facilities for outdoor nets and slip boards. The Cricket Control Board of Maldives (CCBM) was established on 1 January 1983 by the government to promote and develop the game of cricket in the Maldives. The Maldives became a member of the Asian Cricket Council in 1996, and an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council in 1998.
The development programme is conducted within an overall vision for the future of the game which was formulated in 1999. In 1999, goals were set and a wide ranging development programme was inaugurated to revive and consolidate the great game of cricket. The Board’s development programme is built around the theme “Cricket for the Year 2000 and Beyond”, which is specifically aimed at introducing cricket to school children with the long term aim of creating a new generation of talented cricketers who will represent the country. “Cricket for the Year 2000 and Beyond” was launched in 1999 with the primary aim of introducing cricket to school children. The Board’s Junior/Schools programme has been incorporated into the “Cricket for the Year 2000 and Beyond” programme. The Programme inducts players from all the primary schools in Male’ (the Capital). At any given time there are more than 400 players in the programme. The programme is run under the supervision of a Development Manager and an expatriate coach. A coach is assigned for each school squad. The development programme includes weekly practice sessions, training matches and development tournaments. The development programme is also undertaken in Addu atoll. The Addu Development Programme is part of the regional cricket development plan of the CCBM. Since the introduction of cricket in the Maldives it has been exclusively played in the capital Male’. Efforts to spread the field has been hindered by the geographical dispersal of the country and lack of appropriate technical staff. However, in 2002 a programme was launched in Addu atoll which is about 1 hour from Male’ by air. The programme is focused on teaching basic cricket skills to school children and establishment of cricket infrastructure. A full time coach was assigned the task of overseeing the programme. CCBM also gives great importance to the development of technical personnel such as coaches, umpires and curators. The ACCC provides valuable support in this regard. About 13 people received technical training in 2006 from various ACC courses such as coaching, umpiring and curatorship.
The Maldives has played competitive international matches ever since cricket became and organized sport in the country. In the initial years, annual matches between visiting foreign teams was a major feature of the cricket calendar. In 1983 a Maldives national team visited India to play a friendly series with some clubs in Hyderabad. Since then, Maldivian teams, especially school teams, have toured a number of countries in the South Asia region. Maldives biggest triumph in international sports has come through cricket, with the Maldives national team winning the Emerging Nations Tournament consecutively in 2005 and 2006. Maldives age group teams have also shown considerable progress over the past few years with the Maldives Under 15 team winning 5th place in the ACC U15 Challenge Cup held in Thailand in 2006.
There are two basic competition levels in the CCBM tournament structure. One is for the development programme participants and the other for clubs. The school/youth competitions include inter-house tournaments held between teams from schools involved in the CCBM Development programmes, a youth development tournament which is played between the champion teams of the inter-house competitions and an inter-school tournament. These tournaments provide training and competitive opportunities for YDP participants. Domestic club cricket is an important feature of the overall development programme. Various tournaments held throughout the year provide a valuable opportunity for players to compete and enhance their skills. CCBM implements a player ranking system to improve competition between teams. Each year the top performers including national team players are ranked in to three or four groups. Clubs can then select players from the groups. This enables an even distribution of skill thereby contributing to competitive cricket. CCBM also has a policy to encourage youth players to play in club competitions. Teams are encouraged to include youth players in their teams. This helps young players to gain valuable match experience and learn from their senior counterparts. Club cricket has been played in the country ever since the first club cricket tournament was held in the country in 1950. Presently, a number of club competitions are held annually. These include a Twenty20 cup, a Super 8 tournament, Limited Over Division 1 and 2 tournaments and the National Tournament which consists of 2 day matches. A number of tape-ball tournaments are also held each year as part of CCBM efforts to promote cricket, especially social cricket in the country. The Limited Over Division 1 tournament is the most prominent club competition in the country. This tournament sometimes feature top cricket players from neighbouring Sri Lanka and India. Some stars who have played in this competition include Sri Lanka’s Russel Arnold and Upul Chandana.
Women’s Cricket Integration
A training programme for girls was begun in 2002 as part of the regional development programme in Addu. However, the training programme was discontinued as participants dropped out. Presently there are about 100 girls practicing cricket in one of the school YDP programmes conducted by the CCBM. The main obstacle in promoting and sustaining girl’s cricket is lack of family and community support and the fact that many girls see it as a difficult sport to take up.
Marketing and Promotion
The CCBM makes a significant effort to market and promote the game in the Maldives. Sponsorship is vital for the successful hosting of CCBM tournaments and events. CCBM has succeeded in finding sponsorship for most of its activities over the past 2-3 years. The success of CCBM marketing and promotional activities has been recognized by the ICC and ACC, as Maldives has been awarded the ICC Development Award in the category of Marketing and Promotion in the Asia region in 2005 and 2006. CCBM has a very good relationship with the Maldives business community. They provide valuable sponsorship support for our tournaments and events. This has enabled CCBM to promote the game and provide additional finances and rewards to participating teams and players.