Albeit against Maldivian domestic opposition, Kaleem scored 101, 152 not out and 170 last week suggesting he is peaking at the right time.

Kaleem, who survived the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami before leading his country to its first international tournament win at the ACC Emerging Nations tournament six weeks later, leads a side whose build-up is being supervised by short-term coach, Brendon Kuruppu.

Kuruppu, the first Sri Lankan player to score a Test double century, has been performing dual roles of coach of the national team and overseeing youth development during his three month stint which ends at the completion of the Maldives' ACC Trophy campaign.

In five previous ACC Trophy tournaments, the Maldives have won two matches, although there is optimism following their successful ACC Emerging Nations title defence earlier this year.

Following the Emerging Nations wins cricket enjoyed an upswing in popularity, but Maldivian cricket offical, Imad Ismail reports it is still the country's third most popular sport.

"The government is very supportive of all sports and cricket has received an increase in goverment funding of 15% but it still ranks behind football and volleyball in popularity."

The Maldives will play four matches in Sri Lanka before arriving in ACC Trophy host city Kuala Lumpur on August 12.

Their ACC Trophy schedule is: August 14 v Oman, August 18 vs Singapore, August 20 vs. Bahrain