Kuala Lumpur: Dec 20 2011
Arul Vivasvan Suppiah, an ethnic Indian Malaysian, may soon emerge as the first cricket superstar from this football mad country.
The 28-year-old six-footer, who is the youngest to have played for Malaysia at 15, has already carved a niche in cricket for Somerset County in England as a professional.
Arul shot into prominence when he set a world record by taking six wickets for five runs in 3.4 overs in a T20 Champions League match between Somerset and Glamorgan at Cardiff on July 5.
On July 15, Arul proved his mettle with the bat, scoring 156 runs in a three-day tour match between Somerset and India, played at Taunton, Somerset.
He also represented Somerset in the T20 Champions League in 2009.
In the T20 Champions League in Chennai in October, Somerset made it to the semi-finals, but lost by a mere 10 runs to the eventual champions, Mumbai Indians.
For his efforts, the Kuala Lumpur Cricket Association (KLCA) has honoured Arul with an award, acknowledging him as the "KL Cricket's Inspiration" at the players and members night at the Royal Selangor Club (RSC) at Dataran Merdeka, recently.
The association also honoured its under-15 team for winning this year's national inter-state league and rewarded the players with a playing tour of Bangalore, India, later this month.
Arul has represented England's Under-14, 15, 16, 17 and 19 teams. He also played for West of England's under-16 hockey team.
He went on to play first-class cricket for Somerset County, making him Malaysia's first ever professional cricketer.
Arul, who graduated with a degree in accounting and finance from the University of Exeter, Englan, is a right-handed batsman and left-armed orthodox spin bowler.
In 2005, Arul scored his first first-class century against Derbyshire. He scored 1,000 first-class runs in a season for the first time in 2009.
He followed this up with a career-best 156 runs against India in their warm-up match before the England Test series.
The only Malaysian to have played test cricket is the late Lal Singh, who represented India.(PTI)