The current standing of cricket in Myanmar is reflected in the zero amount of coverage most local journals give the cricket World Cup now being played in the West Indies.But on a tree-fringed field, within sight of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, hordes of youngsters brought out bats, leg pads, gloves and stumps. For an hour and a half, boys and girls threw themselves into a knockabout version of the game, while slightly older youths practised their batting and bowling skills.

For 9-year-old William Phyowai, his first taste of cricket was a revelation. “It’s great!” he enthused. “It’s fun!”

For Aye Min Than, who has been playing for two years, the appeal was more cerebral. “Cricket’s different from other sports,” the lanky 21-year-old bowler said, smiling. “It boosts your mental sharpness. It’s a game for the mind.”

To read more about cricket in Burma, see “Yangon wakes to unusual clatter of cricket bats“, The Myanmar Times, 20 April – 6 May 2007.