Two Malawian cricket players to train at Australia academy

Two Malawian cricket players Gracian Mtambalika and Mary Luhanga will leave on Saturday to undergo a monthlong high performance training at Perth Cricket Academy in Austraria.

Some of Malawi’s cricketer girls: From Left to Right is Vice Captain Mary Mavuka, 18, batsman Dalitso Ndipo, 19, and Captain Shahida Hussein, 17, pose on the pitch of their training grounds [Julia Gunther/Al Jazeera]

Mtambalika and Mahuka would undergo the training as part of a mutual relationship between Perth Cricket Academy and Malawi Cricket Union’s Academy.

The two cricket players were selected for the scholarship after impressing during a weeklong high performance clinic in Malawi conducted by a highly qualified coach Stephen Venk October last year.

Malawi Cricket Union President Vivek Ganesan said the relationship with the Australian club would be essential to the development of cricket in the country.

“It all started last year when Perth Cricket Acadey sent a high profile coach to monitor our programmes. The coach two best players male and female woul be selected thats why Mary Mahuka and Gracian Mtambalika got the,” Ganesan said.

He said the players would be exposed to the best infrastructure while rubbing shoulders with some of the players in the world.

“This is the first time that for Malawian players to train in Australia and what they can get is phenomenon,”he said.

But Ganesan did not disclose the reasons behind the reduction of the camp from three months to one.

Malawi Cricket Union was required to meet the cost of air tickets for the players while other costs would be shouldered by the hosts.

Ganese sees cricket as a means of empowerment.

“If women in Malawi are going to be more independent, we need to help them change the way they see themselves,” Ganesan said in quoted reported by Al Jazeera.

Ganesan spent a lot of time talking to the parents or guardians of girls whom he thought had potential to convince them to allow their daughters to play, Al Jazeera reported.

What Ganesan is trying to instil in the girls is about more than going for the win.

“You have to understand that these girls are trying to break through a very thick glass ceiling. Most have spent their lives having their confidence and sense of self-worth undermined by a society that views women as second-class citizens – as the weaker sex,” he says.

That is why he regularly organises tournaments against other national teams, to show them that they are not alone.

“The simple act of getting on a plane, for the first time, in uniform, together as a team, has already opened the eyes of the girls, and helped broaden their horizons,” Ganesan adds. “Seeing how other teams play and function has helped them understand what needs to be done in order to win.”

Cricket in Malawi has a chequered history, dating back more than a century. Introduced by Scottish missionaries in the 1870s, cricket quickly gained popularity. After Malawi became a British protectorate in 1883, hundreds of administrators, civil servants and their families moved to the country, creating clubs and grounds wherever they settled.

 

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