Looking forward to 2017: The sports desk's wishes

Don't give short shrift to cricket

Not many know that national cricket leagues in Singapore feature nearly 110 teams and that Singapore is ranked 24th out of 105 sides in the world.
Not many know that national cricket leagues in Singapore feature nearly 110 teams and that Singapore is ranked 24th out of 105 sides in the world.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CRICKET ASSOCIATION

The lack of a home ground for the national cricket team to train or play warm-up matches reflects a shocking state of affairs. It is plain indifference to a sport that could well garner a gold at August's SEA Games or a medal at the next Asian Games.

Not many know that national cricket leagues in Singapore feature nearly 110 teams and that Singapore is ranked 24th out of 105 sides in the world - a ranking that is probably bettered only by the netballers and the women's table tennis team.

Yet, the national Under-19 squad, who entered the Asia Cup for the first time last month, and the senior squad, who will be featuring in the World Cricket League Division 3 in May and then the SEA Games, do not have proper facilities to call their own.

The players have to make the long and tiring ride to Johor Bahru to train on weekends and play matches after the Kallang Cricket Field, which had a turf wicket - essential for international matches - was taken away from them at the end of 2015.

Those playing cricket in Singapore are in the minority. But give those who embrace the sport the support to excel. Sport here is more than football and it takes diversity to build up a nation's sporting culture.

There are several quality football pitches in Singapore. Is there the need for one more to kick-start the national team's climb from No. 165 in the world?

In the New Year, I wish the authorities would give a proper ground to the national cricket teams. So that they can become better at their art and bring honours to the country too.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 01, 2017, with the headline 'Don't give short shrift to cricket'. Print Edition | Subscribe