In this 1998 article, when Pakistan’s ex-Test spinner Nasim ul Ghani has been active on the cricket front in various capacities even after bidding farewell to the game, including as the head of the Selection Committee. His latest assignment has widened the canvas considerably, as he has been appointed as the ICC Development Officer for the East Asia-Pacific region. His mandate is to implement the ICC program for the globalization of cricket, for which the world has been divided into five regions viz. Asia, Europe, Africa, East Asia & Pacific, and America.
The cricket world body had taken a decision to popularize the game in newer regions, (though not all is well with the established cricket centers either) even while the debate on the game’s changing face and values still rages between the Purists and the protagonists of the ‘new world order. in an exclusive meeting with The Cricketer, Nasim ul Ghani outlined the plans in hand for the regional development of the game) expend the Scope. The ICC wants to popularize the game of cricket in the entire world and for this purpose, has divided the world into five regions Asia, Europe, Africa, East Asia & Pacific, and the Americas.
David Richards of the ICC heads the Development Committee, in his capacity as the ICC Chief. Still to be appointed is a Development Manager who will oversee the entire operation. He will coordinate with all the officers of different regions. Hopefully, this position will soon be filled. The American region is the responsibility of John Shepherd, a West Indian, and the African region will be looked after by Hussain Ayub of South Africa. Nigel Laughton of England is to look after Europe, while an officer is yet to be appointed for the East Asia-Pacific region. This region includes Hong Kong, Brunei, Japan, etc.
My area of responsibility is Asia, extending from the Middle East to some countries in the Far East. I’ve already covered the entire area of my responsibility. I have been to all the Affiliate and Associate member countries falling in my region. Recently, I also visited Dubai to assess the facilities. The people there have done a lot of good work, though there is still room for improvement.
Requirement – As can be easily understood, for such an ambitious aim, the basic requirement is the generation of adequate funds. The ICC Trophy to be played in Dhaka in October 1998 has been organized for the purpose of fund generation that will enable the Development committee to implement its program. All the nine Test-playing nations are going to take part in that tournament. Which is why it has been called a mini world cup sort.
It should be a major draw for cricket lovers in Bangladesh where the interest in the game has been greatly heightened by the ICC Trophy win of its national team. Although the venue falls under my area of responsibility, the ICC itself is organizing this tournament. While it has been decided that all the revenues generated through this tournament will be channeled into the Development Committee’s budget, the percentage of proportion still has to be worked out.
A meeting is scheduled in May 1998, and another one in June, which should these and many allied matters which still remain to be cleared. Since the project is still in its infancy, there are many grey areas, and until and unless the members meet often and seek clarification, the confusion will persist. Overlapping the areas of responsibility is one such matter. However, even now, things are getting streamlined.
Priorities – “All Development Officers have to set the priorities and device, separate development programmers, for their areas. They have to Endeavour to transfer the interest in the game from the expatriates to the locals. Convince schools to introduce the game, to familiarize children. Support will have to be provided in the shape of sponsorship, which can turn lead to media coverage.
Which would otherwise be impossible to get as existing interest is negligible amongst the locals. Technical support, like coaching equipment, umpires, and ground staff also has to be arranged. Plans are afoot to provide incentives to children to generate interest in them. Away tours and exchange of teams are one way through which this can be achieved.
Examples – The success of these ventures cannot be ensured unless there is support at the government level. In Bangladesh, the Ministry of Sports established a Sports Academy in 1984, the BD Krira Shikkha Protishtan which has an ideal set-up that needs to be replicated. It is located about 40 kilometers from Dhaka and is spread over 100 acres. It caters to all sports and has cricket grounds with turf wickets and sixteen practice pitches.
It also has indoor practice facilities, and audio-visual teaching facilities, besides accommodation for the sportsmen. Similar facilities are also on the agenda in Malaysia, where the Johore Cricket Council is setting up something about seventy miles from Kualalumpur. The Development Committee is aware of the fact that it has an enormous task at hand, but I view it as a great challenge.