Cricket is one of the oldest games in the world and it continues to thrive today in Special Olympics!
Special Olympics Thailand athletes together with Cricket Association Thailand Chief Executive Mr. Mohideen A Kader (3rd from left) and Special Olympics Thailand National Director Mrs. Rachaniwan Bulakul (3rd from right).
Cricket in Asia Pacific
One of the oldest games in the world, Cricket was introduced to Special Olympics in the mid 2000s. It is becoming one of the most popular sports in the Movement, with 81,000 athletes and growing. The majority of these athletes comes from the sub continent, where Cricket is not just a sport; it’s a religion. The first international Special Olympics cricket tournament was hosted in India in 2006.
Since 2012, the Asia Pacific region has embarked on a goal to increase the number of cricket playing athletes to 100,000 by the end of 2015. To introduce
cricket in Special Olympics countries, the Asia Pacific office is working with the
Asian Cricket Council (ACC), International Cricket Council, East-Asia
Pacific Council and local Cricket associations. These partnerships will
pave the way to assist Special Olympics programs in resources like
equipment, training facilities and qualified coaching, for the athletes
to experience training and competition opportunities.
Special Olympics Philippines athletes and partners in one of their first Cricket games.
Progress in the region
April 2013, Special Olympics Thailand, Philippines and Samoa have signed
the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with their respective national
Cricket Councils. According to Mike Devaraajan, Sports Manager for
Special Olympics Asia Pacific: “We are expecting more programs to be
involved by the 3rd quarter of 2012. At present we are working with
Fiji and Malaysia towards a partnership with the local councils.”
is also one of the competition sports in the 2013 Special Olympics Asia
Pacific Regional Games in Newcastle, Australia, at the end of this
Explains Mike: "The aim is to offer more Special Olympics athletes a chance play Cricket, giving equal opportunities for all.”
The Origins of Cricket
Cricket is said to have originated in the 16th century with
international matches being played since 1844.
There is really no
official documentation as to when or even where Cricket was played.
What’s known is that Cricket started out as a child's game but the adult
version of the game was said to have started in the 17th century.
is speculated that Cricket is a takeoff of a game called Bowls or Lawn
Bowling; the slight variation uses a bat to keep the ball from reaching
the target, almost similar to baseball.
Cricket is still a major sport that attracts players, spectators and
media interest. The International Cricket Conference (ICC) has expanded
the development of the game and it hopes to produce more national teams
that are capable of competing at the highest level.
Playing the Game
Cricket has three formats:
1. Test Cricket:
The traditional format of the game, played over five days in
traditional white sportswear. Now seen as time consuming by
the current generation.
2. One Day Internationals (ODIs):
a form of cricket matches developed in the 1970s, where the match is
completed in a shorter amount of time compared to the five days for Test
Cricket. Also known as ‘Pyjama Cricket’, as the teams wore coloured
tops for the first time and the matches were played under stadium
3. Twenty20: This newest addition to Cricket is a
style first seen in England for professional inter county teams. It was
introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2000. A Twenty20
game is completed in about three hours, each innings last around 75 - 90
minutes (with a 10–20-minute interval), thus bringing the game closer
to the timespan of other popular team sports.
Special Olympics has adapted the Twenty20 style for play. Click here for the main differences in the rules.