Darren Lehmann lends a hand

Combined release from International Cricket Council (ICC) East - Asia Pacific Development Region & Australian Cricket Board (ACB)

Colin Rika
Colin Rika in action
Photo © ICC
Leading cricketers from Fiji, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea are currently attending the ACB Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy (CBCA) in Adelaide, and were today greeted by Australian player and Southern Redbacks Captain, Darren Lehmann, when he attended one of their sessions at the Adelaide Oval.

This activity is a direct result of the Australian Cricket Board today announcing that it has committed a support budget of A$50,000 to the ICC East Asia - Pacific Development Program. This enables a total of 15 players (five from each country) to fulfil a specially designed two week placement under the guidance of Australian coaches, including former Test wicket-keeper/batsman Wayne Phillips.

The project is joint funded by the ICC and ACB and the remainder of the ACB budget will be allocated to facility establishments and other cricket development activities throughout the 14 countries of the East Asia - Pacific Region. These are; Brunei, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Tonga & Vanuatu.

In welcoming the players, Darren Lehmann said:

"It certainly is great to see the wonderful enthusiasm for the game in countries you would not necessarily link to cricket and it is fantastic that both the ICC and ACB are committing efforts towards supporting cricket in these nations.

"From all reports, many of the East Asia - Pacific countries play the game in an exciting and attacking manner and you've got to admire that," Lehmann added.

Upon making the announcement, ACB Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Sutherland said:

"This contribution is a major part of the ACB's on-going commitment to assisting the growth of the game in developing cricket nations.

"Since its establishment, the ACB and its State Associations have leant support to the ICC's Development Program in various ways. Separate to this, at the higher level, we have also established partnership programs with both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe Cricket to assist with their progress.

Mr Sutherland added;

"As an experienced cricket organisation, the ACB has a key role in helping other countries reach higher levels and to assist the improvement of the game worldwide.

PNG watch a match at the ICC Trophy
PNG watch a match at the ICC Trophy
Photo © ICC
"We trust that these placements will greatly benefit the development of some future stars from the ICC Associate Members of the Region. Clearly, the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Academy has become a vital component within many aspects of world cricket and of this we are proud," he concluded.

ICC East Asia - Pacific Development Manager, Mr Matthew Kennedy said:

"The expertise and resources of all the Test cricket nations is crucial to the on - going success and expansion of the ICC Development Program. Today's announcement by the ACB is particularly important for Papua New Guinea as they have sent five players from the team which has just qualified to compete in the 2002 Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand early next year.

"The countries involved are certainly appreciative of this opportunity and, once proven beneficial, it is hoped that major joint activities such as this can be extended as the Development Program grows.

"With Australia and New Zealand, the East Asia - Pacific Region is certainly blessed with two of the market leaders in the area of cricket development programs, structures and systems," he added.

Kwik Cricket
Kwik Cricket
Photo © ICC
The ICC Development Program, split globally amongst five Regions - Africa, Americas, Asia, East Asia - Pacific, and Europe - commenced in 1997 and has seen substantial progress amongst various countries of the world, including 38 new member nations in this time. The Program provides assistance in all the areas of; tournaments, coach and umpire education, youth/elite development, junior/schools programs, administration, grass roots participation, cricket resources, promotion & marketing, Academy visits/cricket camps, equipment, and practice & playing facility developments.

Through the Development Program, the ICC contributes A$13 million globally on an annual basis to developing the game in non-Test countries.

The ACB and the State/Territory Associations spend more than A$12 million per year to fund the development of the game in Australia.

For more information about the above or the ICC Development Program and this Region, supported by the Australian Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket, please contact ICC East Asia - Pacific Development Manager, Matthew Kennedy, Ph. +61 3 9653 9921 or +61 (0)409 218 883, E-mail matthew_kennedy@acb.com.au.

For further comment/information from the Australian Cricket Board, please contact Brendan McClements, General Manager - Public Affairs, Ph. +61 3 9653 9994, E-mail brendan_mcclements@acb.com.au.