Cricket Board of Maldives
CRICKET IN MALDIVES
Cricket first came to the Maldives via a scholar returning from Ceylon. Like in other countries within the Commonwealth, the first games were played against visiting British naval officers. By 1920, the Male Cricket Club was formed, and by the early 1960s, the Maldives government began organising cricket training programmes for interested youth and adults. By the end of the decade Male had cricket nets and a field.
Maldives became a member of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in 1996, and first played in international competition at the ACC Trophy 1996. The men’s national cricket team is one of country’s most successful sporting teams, winning three international tournaments in the noughties. Victories over Gulf Associate Member heavy-weights Qatar and Saudi Arabia under the tutelage of Brendon Kuruppu saw the island nation claim the ACC Trophy Challenge 2010 and qualify to play against Asia’s best Associates in 2012 and 2013. Wins have been harder to come by in recent ACC Western Region T20 tournaments, in the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games appearances, and at the South Asian Games, where Bhutan are the only team they have beaten.
Despite the obvious infrastructural and logistical limitations of growing the sport in a small, atoll-based island of approximately 515,000, Maldives takes its cricket seriously. The Cricket Board of Maldives is officially recognised by the government, which has been able to attract significant support from the Indian and Sri Lankan governments for the development of the sport in the country. The latest is a $6 million commitment from India to help build a new national cricket stadium and state-of-the-art training facility in Hulhumale.
The Maldives is also one of the few countries outside the top ten with multi-day cricket domestic competition (2-day), to go alongside 50-Over, and T20 tournaments, which attract First Class and club players from Sri Lanka and India. National team players are sent as far as Australia for exposure. A strong relationship with the Malaysian Cricket Association has also seen them compete in Malaysia’s premier domestic competitions too. Women’s cricket has a way to go, but if the ladies are given the same levels of support as the men, they will no doubt spring a few surprises in years to come.
First men’s international matches: vs. Hyderabad club teams, 1983
Major international victories:
vs. Thailand, Bangkok, 2005 (ACC Emerging Nations Trophy)
vs. Thailand, Bangkok, 2006 (ACC South East Asia Emerging Nations Tournament)
vs. Qatar, Bangkok, 2010, (ACC Trophy Challenge Semi Final)
vs. Saudi Arabia, Bangkok, 2010 (ACC Trophy Challenge Final)
Leading men’s international players: Moosa Kaleem (1996 – 2012); Abdullah Shahid (2002 – 2018); Mohamed Mahfooz (2004 – current); Mohamed Rishwan (2012 – current)
League formats: 2-day, 50-over and T20
WCL/World Cup History: N/A
First women’s international match: vs. Nepal, Pokhara, December 2019
Ahmed Ali Didi Cricket Ground, Fuvahmulah
Ekuveni Cricket Ground, Male