Cricket is one of the popular games in India and many other countries. The game has started to gain popularity in Africa and has a strong relationship with Kerala.
Sumod Damodar, the deputy chairperson of the Botswana Cricket Association, who has been elected as chairman of the African Cricket Association (ACA), has been associated with the picturesque Palakkad village. While he has been elected for the top post of the ACA that looks after cricket in African countries, it is expected to rejuvenate the Indo-African cricket ties as well.
However, Sumod has the support of Jay Shah, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and president of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC).
The Afro-Asian Project aims to strengthen the sport at the grassroots level in Africa and was launched in the year 2005 when Jagmohan Dalmiya was at the helm of the BCCI. To strengthen ties and cooperation between the two countries, Dalmiya and the then ACA president Peter Chingoka took the initiative to conduct matches where Asian and African players featured. However, the project failed to do well after Dalmiya's tenure ended in 2009.
However, both Shah and Sumod are trying to revive the Afro-Asian Project again by working on the grassroots level, where U-16, U-19, and the U-23 leagues will take place. At the same time, experienced coaches will guide them to hone their skills.
Meanwhile, the development model that worked for them was in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and the ACC will try to implement this in Africa. So it will be interesting to see how it will work.
"Inter-continental tournaments will allow budding African cricketers to learn and develop their game in a match situation. Most of the senior African players do not have the match experience of India's U-19 players.
It is important to play more matches to gain experience as a player. So we are planning to hold a tournament where teams from east, central and west regions in Africa will take part. An African XI will be picked to take on teams from Asia from among those players. We hope the project will help more players from Africa to play in the Indian Premier League," Sumod said.