China September 13, 2006

Greed is good where China is concerned

Hardly a week goes by these days without someone excitedly claiming that cricket is about to take-off in China

Hardly a week goes by these days without someone excitedly claiming that cricket is about to take-off in China. Now it emerges that ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed will be in Beijing next week to find out how the land lies.

The China Cricket Association has unveiled a strategic plan that has 60,000 schoolchildren playing cricket in three years and 150,000 in five years, with Beijing, Shanghai and Dalian the hubs for promoting the game. Mandarin editions of the Laws of Cricket are now available in China while Australian cricketing officials have visited the country to conduct coaching courses.

But perhaps the real reason that cricket’s bosses are so keen on China was found in a remark by Syed Ashraful Huq, the boss of the Asian Cricket Council when he told DNA Sport that if China participated in future World Cups then “lucrative commercial windfalls would follow”. He added: “As soon as China breaks through, I foresee the total global revenues for cricket increasing by up to 30 to 40%."

As Gordon Gekko said in Wall Street: “Greed is good, greed is right … greed works.”

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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