Kuwaitit Cricket Association (KCA) was established in the year 1996 with the cherished but distant dream of carrying Kuwait cricket to the highest level in world cricket. It united the Kuwaiti nationals who were in some way associated with this great game with all the expatriates representing various cricket organising committees in the country and urged everybody to make a collective effort towards achieving the common goal. His Excellency Sheikh Dari Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah assumed the role of President of the Kuwait Cricket Association in the year 2000 and further strengthened the structure of the organisation providing inspiration right from the top. From that point onwards KCA has never looked back up to now.
Sheikh Dari recently officially extended congratulations to the office bearers of KCA for the organisation's unprecedented achievements during the last two years and personally thanked them all for the valuable support they have rendered to him to effectively discharge his functions as the Head of the unit. The case with which he had been able to make important policy decisions under difficult circumstances and the remarkable progress KCA had made during such a short period is a measure of their contribution, Sheikh Dari further stated.
The Sheikh particularly touched upon the foreign tours that Kuwait had undertaken at different levels and age groups and also the tours that foreign teams had made to Kuwait. He said that it was almost 20 years since Kuwait made their mark at international level which was in 1980 when they won the 'Rothmans Trophy' in UK. At that time Kuwait was not recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) but they won the tournament stamping their superiority on teams such as the Dutch national team, Kenyan national team, an English county team and an Australian select eleven. The other notable performance was in the 'Shesh Mahal Trophy' in Lucknow, India when they reached the semi-final stage.
In the ICC Under 17 cricket tournament held Karachi - Pakistan in 2000, Kuwait had the distinction of getting the highest total of the tournament -360 runs in 50 overs and ended up fourth behind the 3 test playing countries - Pakistan , Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In the Under 17 tournament in Bangladesh in 2001, Kuwait defeated Singapore who is an Associate Member of ICC. In 1999 the present Vice President of KCA Mr. Faisal Al-Marzooq led a regular Kuwait team to Pakistan where 10 matches were arranged by ICC and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) against established first class cricket clubs there. Kuwait surprised even the biggest optimists by winning 4 games. Kuwait also fared excellently in the ACC Trophy in Sharjah losing to Malaysia by the narrowest margin of 5 runs in the quarter finals. Then a significant milestone in Kuwait cricket was achieved when the Kuwait under 13 squad won the 'ICC Under 13 Gulf Cup held in Kuwait in February this year.
Kuwait also undertook many other developmental projects under which they upgraded the knowledge of local cricket administrators and officials. To start with, two umpires Riaz Chaudhry and Gagira Perusinghe attended an umpires' seminar conducted by ICC Umpiring Instructor and reputed ICC Panel Umpire- Mehboob Shah. Subsequently, Mr. Shah visited the country in 2000 to brief 28 local umpires on the Cricket Rules 2000. This was followed by umpire Zahid Usman attending an advanced umpires1 course in Pakistan this year. 22 local cricket coaches too benefited from another KCA project when ICC Staff Coach Iqbal Sikandcr visited the country to conduct a 2 day coaching clinic at Kuwait Entertainment City cricket grounds. The latest project involved sending 2 curators Mahmoud Rasheed and Javed Khokar to Hong Kong to improve their knowledge on pitch preparation and maintenance which is certain to be one of the professions in demand soon when turf wickets come into operation.
The projects in the pipeline arc endless which goes to confirm the efficient manner in which developmental planning has been carried out. The Kuwait Under 13 team who are the current *Gulf Champions' have been invited to Orlando, Florida - USA for an invitational tournament followed by the first ever global symposium on cricket which will be attended by cricketing greats such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Richard Hadley, Ian Botham, Barry Richards and Ritchie Richardson to name a few. Kuwait has also been invited to the next Under 13 Gulf Cup to be held in Oman next year while Qatar has expressed their desire to host a Kuwaiti team under any age group for a series of matches there. Mr. Mazhar Khan from the UAE Cricket Board too has shown intrest to extend an invitation to Kuwait for the proposed Regular Gulf Cup under consideration in that country. A strong Pakistani 'A' team is expected in the country later this year followed by a trip by the Kuwait national team to Pakistan and India early next year. Dr. A. C. Muthiah also promised Faisal Al-Marzook that an Indian 'A' team will tour Kuwait early next year. But the most important project for KCA at present is the Under 19 tour to Kathmandu, Nepal in October this year, in which Kuwait is aiming to be a finalist in order to be admitted to the Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand which will be a ground breaking achievement.
Sheikh Dari Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah also assured that Kuwait who Is currently an affiliate member of ICC was on a fast track to obtaining associate membership. He stated that the recognition Kuwait had managed to get specially among the full test playing countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was very heartening and this new found place among the greats alone should carry Kuwait to its ultimate goal - full membership of ICC. He specially thanked Lt. Gen Tauqir Zia, President of ACC and Chairman of PCB who had promised to send a former test cricketer at PCB's expense to coach the locals, and Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya, the former ICC Chief and present chairman of Asian Cricket Federation (ACF) for pledging so much support for the development of Kuwait cricket and openly declaring that Kuwait in their eyes was the brightest prospect at present among the non-test playing countries. He also lauded the efforts of Haider Farman the Hon. Secretary of KCA,Yousuf Ali Bash member of KCA, Shahed Mirza chairman KCA(EXCO) and committee members especially the two representatives who attended the last ACC Meeting in Lahore namely : Faisal Al-Marzooq the present Vice President and Mr. Asad Baig, Head of Development & Planning. The Sheikh said that the long years of experience and the inborn negotiating prowess of these two gentlemen helped Kuwait's cause in no uncertain terms at the ACC meeting.
Finally, the Sheikh thanked all the cricket organising bodies such as Hubara, Unity, Kuwait Entertainment City, Gulf Consult, Kuwait Cricket Center and the KCA Umpires Panel for the valuable support they rendered conducting the day to day cricketing activities and particularly for the assistance provided for special development projects of KCA. He also said he was confident that the boys representing the country in all age groups at this great gentlemen's game would keep the Kuwaiti Flag fluttering forever.
On another encouraging note, Kuwait Cricket had the rare distinction of witnessing a World Record in wicket keeping in the recently concluded domestic season. The new record holder is the seasoned wicket keeper and Captain of Lanka Lions Cricket Club - Gagira Goshaka Perusinghe who achieved the record in the match between Lanka Lions Cricket Club and Federal Express Cricket Club played on 10 May 2001 at the Gulf Consult cricket grounds in Sulaibiya. He claimed 9 stumpings in the innings when Fedex batted. In fact Fedex finished on 170 for 9 at the end of the allotted overs which meant Perusinghe had stumped all the batsmen to fall in the Fedex innings.
This is by far a New World Record where stumpings in a single innings is concerned according to the Wisden Book of Cricket Records and is the first World Record registered in Kuwait Cricket. The highest number of stumpings in a single innings by a wicket keeper before this was 6 by 11. Yarnold of Worcestershire against Scotland at Dundee in 1951. It also equals the highest number of dismissals by a wicket keeper which now stands as follows:
9 (All stumped) Gagira Perusinghe Lanka Lions C.C. Vs Fedex CC. In Kuwait 2000/01
9 (8ct 1 st) Tahir Rashid Habib Bank Vs PACO in Gujranwala 1992/93
9 (7ct 2 st) W.R.James Queensland Vs Western Australia Brisbane 1959/60
The Kuwait Cricket Association is proud of this achievement and holds it in very high esteem among the cricketing milestones achieved in the country's 53 years cricket history.
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