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Which country is in the record books for having hit the highest total in a 50-over game at international level? The surprising answer is Saudi Arabia, which scored 499 against Brunei in the 2006 ACC Trophy. It also ran UAE and Malaysia close in the same competition and defeated the Emirates two years later, UAE's first defeat in eight years in the biennial competition. The team has not quite lived up to expectations since, though, and at the inaugural ACC Twenty20 Cup in 2009, it finished eighth of the 12 teams.

However, future stellar performances look a certainty based on the abilities of the Under-19 team who won the 2008 ACC Challenge Cup. This was achieved by cricketers who do not go anywhere near turf pitches. Should it manage to hold on to this current generation of teenagers, Saudi Arabia will be a force to be reckoned with.

Cricket is receiving active royal patronage in the kingdom and the Saudi Cricket Centre is reaching out to as many as possible who wish to play thegame. According to Chief Executive Nadeem Nadwi the intention of the SCC is to develop the kingdom's infrastructure, youth and competition programmes: "Youth development is the prime objective, the targets are primary and secondary schools, where we hope to introduce the children to the basics of the game by way of interactive and video demonstrations."

A tournament structure for age-groups for Under-13, Under-15, Under-17 up to Under-19 as well as regional competitions for the seniors is proposed, with particular emphasis being put on investing in turf surfaces at all the new academies and grounds. To that end, the kingdom is being divided into six regional bodies for the purposes of development: Jeddah,Riyadh, Dammam, Medina, Abha and Yanbu. The expectation is that by 2013 at least 180 schools will be competing in nationally-managed competitions.

The intention is to create a focused pathway for talented players to progress. Structured training programmes and scholarships for the most promising players are proposed with full support being given to the new generation of coaches, curators and umpires that will be needed.