The Malaysian Cricket Association (CM) have signed 21 national cricket players of the men’s senior team to national player contracts for 2019 on Thursday.
Signing on behalf of CM, President Mahinda Vallipuram said this occasion marks a key moment in Malaysian cricket’s bid to climb the ladder of the sport internationally from its current 50-overs ranking of 27th in the world.
“This is a big step for Malaysian cricket as not too long ago, in 2012, we were ranked 49th in the world and now we are playing in the World Cricket League Division 4,” said Mahinda during signing ceremony at the Kinrara Oval in Bandar Kinrara. “This is a journey we must take to improve and the idea is that for both sides to undertake a commitment to strengthen Malaysian cricket.”
Cricket Malaysia has approved 25 national contracts, for a period of one year, to be awarded out of which 21 have been offered to the players after a deliberation by the development committee. Sixteen players were present at the ceremony while the remaining five who were unable to attend due to other commitments will sign later.
The players are graded according to several factors, including whether they are playing in the 50-overs or Twenty20 formats, or both, and their performance from international tournaments played in 2018 and prior experience.
Players will be paid allowances based on their grades and also receive other benefits such as medical insurance, welfare and education funds.
Performance incentives ensures a player can move up a grade after a review by the independent selection committee during the course of the year, taking into account commitment, training attendance and performance in matches.
“Fundamentally, the contract seeks to instill commitment, responsibility and give a clear understanding of the roles of all parties in achieving national goals,” said Mahinda, a key driver in establishing the player contracts. “This also shows the commitment of the national players in giving their time to the national team and support the growth of Malaysian cricket.”
“It is only fair for the players who are giving their commitment and time to achieve national aspirations and we should be seen to be working together. These contracts offer clarity and if tomorrow we receive more grants or scholarships, we have the basis to reward the players.”
CM’s national player contracts mirrors the implementation of central playing contracts by main Test-playing nations over the last 20 years in the management of international cricket players and to guide their team selection.
“We hope, in the future, to offer our players the type of contracts used by major cricket playing countries like Australia and England,” said Mahinda. “Our goal is to help drive improve players in the 50-overs and T20 formats and for Malaysia to do well.
“We are implementing this contract system after extensive discussions by the development committee with the players and selectors. The idea is for the selection committee to conduct a review every three months after the national team have played in pathway tournaments such as ICC and ACC events.”
National men’s team player Mohd Shafiq Sharif thanked Cricket Malaysia for looking into their welfare by offering the contracts.
“On behalf of the national team players, we would like to thank CM for their effort and time to make this happen. This contract means a lot to us and will motivate us to work harder as individuals and as a team. As players, we promise to work harder and smarter to become better players and fly our flag high,” said Shafiq.
“As players we are very satisfied because we are assured of having an income for the next one year. The review process will also ensure that players do not drop their standards and always strive to perform to their best.”
Mahinda assured the players the necessary funding required for the successful implementation of the contract system is in place.
“It is a question we have asked ourselves. We have been paying allowances all the time through CM funding, grants, sponsorship and fund-raising,” said Mahinda. “Now that we have formalised this, we bear an extra cost but we have allocated funding to ensure the success of this system.”
The 21 players who have accepted and signed the contracts are:
1. Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor (B+)
2. Mohd Shafiq Mohd Sharif (B+)
3. Pavandeep Singh (B+)
4. Virandeep Singh (C+)
5. Muhammad Anwar A Rahman (C+)
6. Muhamad Syahadat Ramli (C+)
7. Mohd Anwar Arudin (A)
8. Mohd Shukri Abdul Rahim (A)
9. Mohd Suharril Fetri Shuib (A)
10. Muhammad Fitri Mohd Sham (A)
11. Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak (A)
12. Abdul Rashid Ahad (B)
13. Muhammad Wafiq Irfan Zarbani (B)
14. Dhivendran Mogan (B)
15. Sharvin Muniandy (B)
16. Mohamad Nazril Abdul Rahman (C)
17. Muhammad Hafiz Mohd Khair (C)
18. Mohd Norwira Zazmie (C)
19. Ainool Haqqiem Md Yatim (C)
20. Sivanantha Gobal Krishnan (C)
21. Syazrul Ezat Idrus (C)
Note: Player grades are in parentheses, ‘+’ indicates both 50-overs and T20 formats
For 2019, the national team is scheduled to play in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup Asia Qualifiers in Malaysia and the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League.