SINGAPORE - Singapore's men's and women's SEA Games cricket teams were treated to a dinner and given a warm send-off at the Indian Association's Vijaya Room yesterday.
Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance Indranee Rajah, who is the new adviser to the Singapore Cricket Association (SCA), officials from SportsSG, SCA executive committee members and supporters were present to bid the players a "good innings" in Kuala Lumpur.
The men will figure in the Twenty20 and 50 overs versions of the game, while the women will compete in the T20 tournament. Cricket will feature in the SEA Games for the first time in Kuala Lumpur from Aug 17 to 29.
"Cricket has tremendous potential in Singapore," said Ms Indranee, who handed caps to the women's team captain Diviya G.K. and the men's team skipper Anish Paraam and greeted the players. "I am happy to lend my support to the SCA and give my encouragement to the players.
"The men's team, who play in the World Cricket League's Division 3 , are on the way up. It is no mean feat to be ranked 23rd in the world. They now have the opportunity to do well at the SEA Games.
"We have great talent (in both teams). Hope you will bring medals, preferably golds... do your best."
Earlier, SCA president Mahmood Gaznavi welcomed Ms Indranee to the association's fold.
"Minister Indarenee's presence will help us better handle issues that affect the sport from time to time," he said. "Singapore cricket will certainly benefit from her input."
He also thanked SCA patron Joe Grimberg and other Singapore officials for "working hard" to get cricket included in the SEA Games.
"It is the first time cricket is a medal sport in the SEA Games and no doubt we will target gold," he said. "It is important to play the game in the right spirit and fly the Singapore flag high on and off the pitch. Our good wishes to the men's and women's teams."
Both the men's and women's teams played warm-up matches in Johor Bahru since they do not have a dedicated ground of their own in Singapore.
Mahmood said an agreement has been worked out with the Indian Association to better utilise its ground and facilities.
"With the suppport of SportsSG and IA, lights will be put up at the IA ground within the next six weeks," he said. "That will help the national team train better and reach a higher level from the World Cricket League Division 3 we are in now."