Home > China > The Emergence of Chinese Cricket: Development

The Emergence of Chinese Cricket: Development

In December 2006, the Chinese U-15 Cricket Team came to Bangkok to contest the ACC U-15 Challenge Cup 2006, in what was China’s first international cricket tournament. I had a chance to meet up with some the players, coaches, and administrators from that team to get an insight into what moves China is making to develop the sport in the country.

For all of you who didn’t actually see that Chinese team in action, they were one of the most disciplined fielding sides in the tournament, they had some accurate, orthodox bowlers, and some very technically correct batsmen (hence the fact that they managed to bat out close to 40 overs in every match they played.), they even won their debut match albeit against Myanmar (Myanmar were more experienced). An gutsy effort for a debut tournament courtesy of 6 hours of training per day for 2 months under former Pakistani test player, Rashid Khan. Every player in the squad was an ethnic Chinese, as is the norm with China and all its endeavours.

Though China have been playing the sport for just over a year, both the ICC and ACC have correctly identified the cricketing potential of the world’s most populous nation and are investing huge amounts of money, and expertise into the country. China were alloted US$200,000 for the December Tournament alone, and are being given $5.6 million for the year 2007 by the ACC and ICC. Between the months of July and September, Cricket Australia and ACC (under Rumesh Ratnayake, and Roger Binny) trained 82 school PE teachers and national sports council employees to become Cricket Australia Level 1 coaches. China has 2 times the number of Level 1 coaches than any other associate or affiliate member in the Asian region (Malaysia is 2nd with 40 odd). Another sign of intent from the various bodies is the allocation of land by the Chinese government and money by the ACC for 2 specialized cricket schools, one of which will be opened in Beijing.

 The CCA has set itself a variety of goals for the next 10 – 15 years namely:

  • 2009: Have 720 teams across the country in a well-organised structure
  • 2015: Have 20,000 players and 2,000 coaches
  • 2019: Qualify for the World Cup
  • 2020: Gain Test status  (from Wikipedia)
  • One thing is for sure, when the Chinese try their hand at something, they usually give it 200%, and end up succeeding There’s no doubt that China will become a Cricketing heavyweight. The question remains as to when, and from what i’ve seen, and heard, sooner than all of us think!

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    Categories: China
    1. Ram
      January 22, 2007 at 5:15 pm

      Rego,

      Thanks for that article!…I just have a doubt: Are you sure China is being given US $5.6 million by the ICC for development for the year 2007 because the ICC itself spends only about US $7 million annually on its overall development program!?

      Is China participating in any ACC tournaments this year?..It would be good to see if they’ve progressed from the experience gained by participating in the Thailand tournament last month…

      Also, there were some talks (rumours?) about the CCA having acquired land in Beijing for the construction of a cricket stadium…Any news/updates on that one?

      It remains to be seen how quickly the public can embrace this game and consequently how well the Govt. can lend support to the efforts of the CCA, ACC and ICC…

    2. Nishadh Rego
      January 22, 2007 at 7:35 pm

      About the money. .thats what I’ve heard from a few people..there are no hard facts to back it up yet..

      I think China are participating in the ACC U-17 Challenge Cup this year..not sure about the U-19s though..If you ask me, they should wait a couple of years before playing the U-19s rather than sending a Brunei-esque team..would be devastating for their reputation locally and in some corporate sectors internationally where they maybe trying to get funding.

      I have no updates on the land, but I know for sure that two other schools have already been allocated by the government as cricket/sports medicine schools..

      Most countries set targets like the ones China, however end up altering them in the end. China, I believe, do actually have the ability to gain One-Day Status at least by 2020

    3. January 23, 2007 at 1:26 pm

      There arent many associate countries in which test countries take over interest…… China is an exception to that rule, with both Pakistan and India being very interested…… think about this, Afghanistan and Nepal are much more advanced in the game than China, but both India and Pakistan give 5 times the attention to China than either of these countries……. so China has that part going………

      Secondly, they made a particular plan, and they executed it, in at least getting the number of junior players….. so there is little reason to believe that they cannot do so further……….. plus cricket is an important part diplomatically and socially if China wants to get better integration with South Asia….. so I guess the government may be looking at it from that perspective as well……..

      Regarding the 5.6 million number……. I havent heard anything like that…… I have only heard the $400K number…………

    4. Bruce Gaskell
      January 23, 2007 at 2:37 pm

      Good news Rego, and obviously you’ve seen them first hand and we haven’t, but 2020 for ODI status seems VERY optimistic. Possibly temporary status like Scotland, Kenya etc have now, but even then they’ll have to leap frog a lot of countries where Cricket has been played for generations.

      Good to see the ACC/ICC alocating funds, but with all the money they have, could they not be doing more? I would love to see a breakdown of what the ICC actually DOES with the $Billion it has over the next 8 years. Obviously it can’t all go on development, but the national boards more or less look after themselves (unless I’m unaware of some generous subsidies which go to the poorer Test nations)

    5. Ram
      January 23, 2007 at 4:08 pm

      I think one of the main reasons why China playing cricket is evoking interest from the Test world is because of the ICC’s and ACC’s comments about how it can have a drastic influence on the popularity of the sport globally and consequently how the game would benefit commercially from this exercise….Precisely, that’s why USA playing cricket also made news though their subsequent on-field performances dampened the enthusiasm 🙂

      Bruce….The ICC gives around US $6 million (I think!) to each Test board, obviously they are the sources of income for the ICC and won’t allow the ICC spending chunk of its income on development when they don’t get anything 🙂

    6. Nishadh Rego
      January 23, 2007 at 8:02 pm

      Both the USA and China playing cricket are vital for cricket to come anywhere near sports such as soccer and tennis in terms of popularity and reach. The ICC tried throwing the USA into the deep end with the 2004 Champions Trophy, but that only worsened reputations and interest in the sport. Think about it, until even 5 years ago, Basketball was played predominantly in the states. Now because of the NBA’s extensive coverage and advertising campaigns worldwide, it has become quite a craze in many countries around the world. I hadn’t heard of 6 or 7 ARgentinians playing in the NBA before this year.
      Its the same with cricket, China, and the US. The subcontinental countries have had an immense knock-on effect on Nepal, Afghanistan etc, England on their 4 European neighbors. Of course this is a very long term idea, however it thought that China might have this effect on the rest of Asia, and the US on Latin, and South America. Obviously, diplomatically etc, Cricket is a great way for China to bridge the gap between itself and South East Asia, as Nasir quite rightly pointed out.

      As for China’s goals, reaching test status requires something more than just money and rapid development. It requires that craze, knowledge, and constant association with the sport for newer countries (like what AFghanistan and Nepal have), and China don’t have that yet. But China has never really had that obsession with any sport, and look at how successful they are I think they would be able to make One-Day status or atleast be one of the top 10 associates in the world by 2020, but you never know

    7. January 24, 2007 at 11:17 am

      Actually soccer was the most popular game in the world WITHOUT USA having anything to do with it. US came into the limelight in soccer only after the 1994 World Cup. But the interest was already there in the women’s game, and also, you may all be surprised, but soccer is the most popular game in US elementary school level kids ! So the base was already there, and they were just taking it a notch up further.

      Personally, I am not a big fan of going crazy after USA in terms of cricket development, especially in the manner that ICC usually does it, i.e. via the expats. Canada has a much better chance, the game is much more established, the number of immigrants is much higher in terms of percentage and hence they have a higher chance of influence, standard is much higher, there is ‘more’ support for the game at the govt level, the game is already one of the most popular in schools in Toronto etc.

    8. Art
      January 24, 2007 at 2:06 pm

      I have spent a lot of time working in China and have even watched a cricket match or two.

      However cricket is manufacturing a country of players here which leads me to ask one question.

      Will China ever understand the real spirit of the game?

      Yes I know there can a long debate about what the true spirit is etc etc but no matter where I have umpired there has been that basic core value that is cricket. I wonder in all the excitement whether or not that that very thing will or in fact can be taught or understood in China.

      As for football, having recently watched the World Cup there were more dives there than in a swimming carnival.

    9. January 24, 2007 at 2:41 pm

      Art,

      Ever watched a street cricket game in Pakistan? There is no such thing in that as the spirit of cricket. Yet, Pakistan is a one sport country. All the spirit etc comes in at a much later stage.

      There is no reason to believe that China’s cricketers will not understand the spirit of the game. In fact, in countries where the game is not already established, the players understand the values and spirit of the game much better, because they CHOOSE to play that game over other, easier options.

    10. ajaya
      January 24, 2007 at 3:42 pm

      the spirit of cricket is the weirdest concept ever

      seems to me like the best team in the world is the one that practices the art of mental disintegration of the opposition, therefore has the least ‘spirit’

      maybe not having spirit is a good thing

    11. Ram
      January 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm

      Nasir…I still have my reservations about cricket being “popular” in Canadian schools when the country is struggling to field one home-grown, ethnic Canadian in either of its senior or age-group men’s national teams…Canada is an enigma in the sense their men’s game hardly involves any ethnic locals while the women’s team does so!!

    12. Art
      January 24, 2007 at 4:12 pm

      Nasir,

      You make a very valid point and one I had not,perhas, given due consideration to.

      Yes I have watched street cricket in Pakistan and enjoyed a game or two myself. However there is a difference between street cricket and stepping onto the field in an organised game played under the correct Laws. Let me tell you backyard cricket here can be a tough experience lol.

      Ajaya,
      The practicing of the art of mental disintergration of the opposition has been around a long time in cricket. Do I approve of everything the Australian cricket does on the field? No. There is a line between sledging and banter and that line has been pushed way too far and perhaps Australia has been a leader in pushing those boundaries. However some of the toughest sledging that occurs here has been team mate on team mate. Who will ever foget Border telling Jones when Jones was ill and dehydrated that he wasn’t man enough for the job and perhaps Border should find someone from the state of Queensland who could do it better.

      Then again playing from time to time in a few countries I didn’t know if I was being sledged or not but I guessed from the laughter after some of the comments they were aimed at me.Language as a barrier is sometimes a blessing.

      There is an old saying about sleding. the best sledging is from a batsman, scoring runs, and from the fielding team getting wickets.

      Vicious and personal sledging has no part in the game and as long as everyone is silent from when the bowler starts his run up then banter is just banter.

    13. Roland Ilube
      January 25, 2007 at 3:38 am

      Art,

      I am struggling to understand the point that you are making with respect to the inculcation of the spirt of cricket into the Chinese game. Are you saying:

      a) that those responsible for teaching the game in China are not teaching the spirit? In which case I would be interested to know what kind of people these are and where they obtained the necessary qualifications to teach cricket

      b) that those learning the game in China are incapable/unwilling to embrace the spirit? Again I struggle to believe this, in my own experience, I have seen kids from the backstreets of Lagos, Lusaka, Dar Es Salaam and many other non-traditional cricketing outposts grasp the spirt of cricket, so surely it cannot be beyond the Chinese

      c) something else that I have missed?

      On the more general issue of “sledging”, the thing that concerns me is what you might call the role-model effect. Nowadays I get every pie-chucker who runs to the wicket giving me a mouthful of invective (usually, but not exclusively, in an Australian or South African accent) after sending down his miserable excuse for a delivery. When you are playing recreational cricket, which involves paying money to play and arguing with your wife because you are going to be out of the house all day and you haven’t put the shelves up, I really object to some joker questioning my parentage/sexual proclivities/etc. because he’s seen it on TV and thinks that is how you show you are a “good” player

      To quote from the preamble to the laws of cricket, “The spirit of the game involves RESPECT for your opponents…” How many test captains ensure that their players demonstrate this spirit?

    14. Nishadh Rego
      January 25, 2007 at 12:13 pm

      Roland,

      You’re based in England right?..If im right you also play for nigeria??..do you play cricket in England?

    15. January 25, 2007 at 12:38 pm

      Roland…… that was a funny post!
      Art….. I think you need to defend your position 🙂
      Ram…. Bagai and Sandher, arent they home grown?

    16. Art
      January 25, 2007 at 2:35 pm

      Roland,

      I was thinking more along answer b in my original post but you will note in a subsequent post that I was having second thoughts.

      Sledging. Interesting point. If I was batting and someone questioned by parentage, sexualk proclivities etc on the cricket field I would probably walk up and smack him in the mouth. I know that sort of reaction is terribly frowned uponbut I has always escaped me why someone can sledge like that and expect not to get hit in the mouth for his troubles.

      Sledging and spirit is an interesting thing. I have wondered for some time when this really all started and perhaps am a little sick of much older ex players than I am getting misty eyed and saying it never happened in their day.

      I had the pleasure of being before knee injury both opening bowling and opening bat. Back in the 60’s things were simple. If you had watched the West Indies in their famous tour here in the early 60’s you just bowled as fast as you could. When we got off playing on concrete and onto grass you could actually make the ball bounce. It was simple, if he was a good batsman you gave him a good spray of short balls and he either wethered the storm and made runs, you ran out of energy or you got him out.

      Then something changed. Cricket no longer became a battle of bat against ball because the batsman put on helmets and all sorts of other padding. The fast bowler lost a lot of his shock tactic. Hitting a batsman, a legitimate tactic against the top order if you were good enough, no longer hurt the batsman as much. Then they played with some other rules. Bouncers became countable leading to no balls, high bouncers became wides, the team intimadatory bowling was introduced and finally batsman became king of the game, at least aginst average to good fast bowling.

      What was a fielding side left to do, why sledge of course, the rules had tried to neuter their main weapon, the fast bowler.

      Now getting back to anyone having to take personal garbage in a sleding match. Sorry it’s just not on. There is banter but when banter gets personal or when folks start to chirp when the bowler has commenced his run up then something has to be done about it by the umpire and rapidly. It’s amazing how pleasant a game can be with banter at the right times.

      In retrospect there has only been one game I have umpired this season where someone wanted to stretch the rules a little. That was fixed very rapidly without a report, without raised voices and without disagreement. Perhaps this season so far I have been lucky with the matches I have umpired but we are all out there to enjoy ourselves and I have the best seat in the house.

    17. Ram
      January 25, 2007 at 4:21 pm

      I didn’t just say home-grown Canadians, I actually said “home-grown, ETHNIC Canadians” and I’m sure neither of Bagai nor Sandher are ethnic…why I say ethnic is because they need to embrace the sport and start identifying it as part of their culture…Home-grown is fine but unless the mainstream, ethnic locals get behind the game in good numbers, it’s difficult for Canadian cricket to progress beyond the limit that “expat-based” teams are usually stuck at…In any case, are their age-group teams any better?

    18. Martin Lauritsen
      January 26, 2007 at 12:12 am

      What is ethnic Canadian?
      Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and American culture is constantly changing due to immigration, while the native cultures of these lands continue to struggle for survival.
      The modern incarnation of these nations have been built by immigrants from the time the native people first laid eyes on them landing upon their shores. The only demographic which can lay claims to ethnicity of these countries are the native people of these lands.
      I would therefore suggest that Bagai and Sandher ARE natural Canadians as are Davison, Bilcliff, Heaney and Barnett, most of the others are naturalised Canadians, all of whom have chosen to be Canadian.
      Canada certainly do need to increase penetration of the game into mainstream society, but that society should not be pigeon holed into groups by perceived ethnicity, Canada is FOR ALL Canadians and the game will find its own way through the various cultural similarities and differences. It is the job of the administrators to nurture and grow the game across the country. By promoting the sport and focussing on development this has a good chance of success in Canada.

    19. Roland Ilube
      January 26, 2007 at 3:10 am

      Rego,

      Yes I’m based in England and yes I do (or at least did, not sure I’m still in the selectors thoughts) play for Nigeria. I play club cricket here in England.

      Art,

      I agee with your views re sledging, what frustrates me is that most umpires don’t take a stand and most captains don’t control their players (at all levels of the game). For my sins I am a club captain and I don’t allow any of my team to indulge in that nonsense. When I was a teenager a fielder continually insulted me while I was batting. Eventually I lost it and went for him. Despite the fact that he was a grown man well over six feet and I was a skinny 15 year-old (admittedly I was the one holding the bat, he ran away, but it should never have got to that point…

      I apologise I seem to be rambling on here so I’ll shut up now…

    20. Bruce Gaskell
      January 26, 2007 at 5:12 am

      Using the phrase ‘Ethnic Canadian’ would get you in a lot of trouble in Canada!

      But yes getting ‘white’ Canadians or whatever they’re allowed to call themselves into Cricket should be a priority for Canada.
      When visiting Vancouver I had the happy surprise of stumbling on 2 games of Cricket being played in the big park in the middle of the city, they had what looked like a decent pitch, pavillion and everything. One of the guys said 99% of players in the area were expats, but I doubt many planned to leave, the next generation is the key.
      Sorry this is very off topic. Go China!

    21. January 26, 2007 at 12:00 pm

      Home Grown players are fine as well I think…… at least they are better than playing expats, who are better than rented players …..

      Davison, Bilcliff, Barnett, Heaney?….. well, legally they are Canadians, and one can get into a social debate about their playing cricket….. but Martin, they do NOT represent Canadian cricket……….. however, its a discussion that ends up coming down to the definition of natioanlity, and in that definition, cricket is a very minor thing………….

      But they current team that beat Kenya and lost to Scotland by a whiff did not have the serivces of the imports, so I think they did well……..

    22. Art
      January 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm

      Roland,

      I know we are a little off track but good for you on the sledging thing. I allow banter in my games but not outright sledging by anyone. Teams keep asking me to umpire them so I guess something must be going okay. Mind you we have a lot of single umpire games and not everyone can or is prepared to stand against an aggressive team. Perhaps more captains should take a leaf out of your book.

      One of my aims in life is to umpire a game in China played by Chinese with talent.

    23. May 26, 2008 at 5:23 pm

      I played in that tournament and I was the Man of the Match against them took four wickets in eight overs…I couldn’t go through their defences till the third over…and their bowling…pace and bounce…the hardest I have seen…I played from Saudi Arabia

    24. August 24, 2008 at 9:58 pm

      I don’t understand why “expats” playing a game is disparaged – in marketing any product you start with whatever base you have and grow from there. In affluent countries what is need is motivation to play a sport – the Olympics could provide that for Americans and Canadians. If cricket were in the 2012 Olympics you’d see many Americans and Canadians picking up bats and balls . That’s why we have a petition at Cricket2012Games.com to get cricket into the 2012 Olympics.

    25. Chris
      October 10, 2008 at 4:56 pm

      getting cricket into the 2012 games is unrealistic, not because of the cricket itself but the whole IOC process. Look at baseball and softball – they are official Olympic sports but were dropped, but still remain Olympic recognized and the sports proposed to replace them didn’t get enough votes so 2012 will have 2 less sports. However baseball and softball’s next chance of getting back in is for 2016. Currently the ICC and cricket are IOC recognized but all extra sports are being considered for 2016 as the 2012 program is already fixed (so 2012 will have two less sports than 2008 but 2016 should have the same number as 2008). In 2009 the IOC will next vote on future inclusions for the Olympics, but those sports will not be included until 2016 – presumably to give athletes and sporting federations enough time to organize qualifying tournaments and to prepare. So in 2009 golf, rugby, squash, karate and roller sports and I think baseball and softball will be considered at an IOC congress for 2016. Cricket2012Games.com should probably change the focus to Cricket2016Games.com or Cricket2020Games.com to gather the necessary momentum for a goal that is actually attainable. Pushing for cricket in 2016 or 2020 would be better as well because although a majority (51%) is needed to remove a game from the Olympic programme I think 60-66% of votes in an IOC congress is needed to get a game into the Olympic program. How does Cricket2012Games.com propose to garner the 60+% of votes needed from IOC delegations in the 2009 congress when cricket isn’t even on the schedule to be considered in 2009?

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