Malaysia on a 'fast track' to challenge Asian nations

Written by: D Ram Raj
Published: Thursday, November 14, 2002, 12:55 [IST]
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Bangalore: Placed on the 'fast track' channel for development by the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), Malaysian cricket is all set to develop as a major force in the region with the full backing and blessing of the Malaysian Cricket Association president Prince Tunku Imran, who is also a member of the executive board of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"ACC has identified Malaysia and Nepal for fast track development. Our development officer is Roger Binny, the former India all-rounder. Apart from the programmes conducted by Binny, we have also enunciated our own 'high profile' programme keeping in mind short-term and long-term goals," Malaysian Cricket Association executive member incharge of coaching and development Vijayalingam V told Thatscricket.com in an exclusive interview.

"Our immediate goal is to try and qualify for the 2004 Asia Cup and the 2007 World Cup. Our target on the long-term is to achieve Test status by 2020. Keeping these two aims in mind we have been preparing our age group cricketers (under-13 to under- 19)," Vijayalingam, who has played for Malaysia from 1978 to 1995, said.

"Our boys - under-13, under-15 and under-19 - are attached to Binny when he is in Malaysia during the three-week coaching stints. We are very happy that he has designed and developed specific work out for the boys. In future, however, we have been informed that the camps would be of two-week duration. We further build on the inputs given by Binny," he explained.

A level III coach (highest) from the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide, Vijayalingam has enthusiastically devoted his life and time for the uplift of Malaysian cricket both at his club - Sarawak Cricket Association (SCA) - and national levels. Employed by the SCA as director (coaching and development), Vijayalingam also devotes more than ample time with the Malaysian Cricket Association in his capacity as executive member (incharge of development).

Vijayalingam, who was on a private visit to Bangalore and Chennai to arrange practice matches for SCA during February 2003 prior to the commencement of the Malaysian league in March, was enthusiastic about the facilities available in India for the development of the game and hoped the exposure that his boys got here and in Australia would help in the long-term in shaping Malaysian cricket.

"Four of our national pool boys (under-19), two top order batsmen and two all- rounders, will be attached to a sports academy at Chennai. Four boys, two wicket- keepers and two all-rounders, will be attached to an Australian academy. I primarily came to visit the facility at Chennai and also prepare for the visit of an SCA team next year," Vijayalingam said.

"I'm simultaneously preparing the SCA team for the First Division League, where we are second to the Negri Sembilan Cricket Association. We propose to undertake a 12- day tour of Chennai and Bangalore wherein we would like to get about six games - three in each city," he stated.

Having graduated to coaching through the hard and rigorous grind of the Adelaide Academy from level I to the present level III, Vijayalingam wants to utilise his wealth of experience and exposure both as player as well as coach for translating the Malaysian cricketing dream into a reality.

"I basically took up cricket due to parental influence. My father Vythilingam was a player and promoter of the game. His strong backing was largely responsible for me playing for Malaysia and taking up coaching as a professional career. I played for Malaysia in three World Cup qualifiers in 1979, 1986 and 1990," he explained of his role as a cricketer.

"I started off as a medium pace bowler and then shifted to the all-rounder's slot by batting at number six. I would recall 1986 World Cup qualifier as the best. In a pool of six teams including Kenya and Zimbabwe, we finished third with three wins and two losses. In fact, we handsomely beat Bangladesh and ran Kenya very close," he signed off.


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