Cricket in Malawi has gone from tatters to technology in just a few years. It’s an incredible recovery story.
PitchVision first heard the tale when we approached Vivek Ganesan – President of the Malawi Cricket Union (MCU) – about our ball tracking and video analysis technology.
That all sounds rather grand: Presidents, technology, international cricket!
In reality, all that was just one step in a journey that started in 2010.
Back then, MCU was in turmoil.
The country was suspended from the ICC.
Vivek volunteered to take over the administration of cricket. Not because he was an extraordinary legend of the game. Because he cared deeply. He’s a cricket lover, former player and runs a family biscuit making company.
He was suprised to learn what resources were available to the governing body of a nation.
Eight cricket balls and some stationary.
That was it.
Malawi cricket had nothing more than this and the passion of a cricketer.
The long road
From this start, many would have given up the game for lost. Instead, the long road back was started.
At first, MCU arranged an eight a side tournament. It was all they could do. They talked their way into four schools teaching cricket as volunteers in a country where cricket is not a big sport.
They worked hard and got some sponsorship money, allowing them to expand into more schools and have more people introduced to cricket.
No one was paid, no one had formal coaching qualifications. All they had was a dream to bring cricket back from it’s deathbed. By 2014 there were 20 schools in the programme. There were men’s and women’s teams. Cricket was off the life support machine but was still fragile.
The same year, a big milestone was doing enough to be reinstated to the ICC.
Malawi once again could compete internationally.
In 2015, a home-grown men’s team took part in an international tournament in Mozambique. The following year the first ever Under 19 women’s side competed in Botswana.
Cricket was on it’s feet.
The next steps
For Vivek, this was a wonderful moment. It was not enough. He had greater plans in sight. As a businessman, he had a strategic vision that saw the rise of Afghanistan as a model.
With quality cricket in place, the next part of the vision is greater participation, coach education, an academy programme and even higher standards with an eye on a first class competition in the next few years.
A cornerstone of this strategy is PitchVision.
The ball tracking and video technology is ideal. Not only would it improve the quality of MCU coaching programmes, but it would also increase commercial value.
When MCU are cutting edge and modern, sponsors and media are attracted. Sponsors mean more money to pump into growing the game further. And one thing is for sure, MCU and Vivek are all about growing the game as much as possible, and truly making a positive, sustainable, economical, and cultural impact.
There are echos here for cricket at every level: From clubs in areas where cricket is faltering, to entire nations where the sport is a tiny minority. Everyone can find joy in this successful story and hope in Malawi’s future plans.
PitchVision is proud to be a small part of this amazing story.