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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 AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.