Cricket-Asia chief Shah to help aid sport’s growth in Africa

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah speaks with the media, in Ahmedabad
FILE PHOTO: Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah speaks with the media during the inauguration ceremony of Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) Indoor Academy in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India December 10, 2020. Picture taken December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Amit Dave

March 31, 2022

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Asian Cricket Council is set to play a role in helping grow the game in Africa through a plan prepared by ACC chief Jay Shah, a source told Reuters.

Asia is the biggest market for cricket and home to five of the 12 test playing nations across the world, with the game enjoying massive popularity in the Indian sub-continent.

Shah, who is also the secretary of the powerful Indian cricket board (BCCI), is reviving the ‘Afro-Asian Cricket Project’, which was first mooted in 2005 by former International Cricket Council chief Jagmohan Dalmiya.

While the goal is the same, the new plan will approach it from a more “sustainable” angle, the source, a member of Shah’s team, said.

“Shah has proposed a model that is commercially viable, financially feasible and technically sustainable,” the source said. “The project will ensure that there is a real transformation at the grassroots level with age-group cricketers being the focus.”

Cricketers at under-16, -19 and -23 levels will have access to qualified coaches, more game time and the chance to test their skills against players from across the continent, under Shah’s plan.

Shah and the ACC did not immediately respond to request for comment.

At its annual general meeting held this month, the ACC extended Shah’s term as the president of the continental body by a year to 2024.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Peter Rutherford)