February 16, 2007


China ... the fragile reality

Martin Williamson
An MCC batsman in action against United Beijing XI, Beijing Jiaotong University, October 1, 2006
 © Getty Images


Matthew Pryor in The Times take a look at the reality behind stories that cricket is about to take off in China:-

Thus far, many of the clichéd reports of cricket gripping the Chinese have been just that — the truth has been much more fragile. But as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and there has been genuine movement in the past two years.

Malcom Speed, never a man to miss an opportunity for massive new markets for the game has his own thoughts.

“There’s been a very good start in China …this is a ten-year project and no one should be under any illusion that results will appear overnight.”

But Robin Marlar, who as president of MCC led a club tour there last year, makes clear that the state, as with most walks of life, is in control and wants to remain that way.

“The Chinese Government want to keep the two streams apart. For them it is politically essential. They want it to become their game, not an expat game.”

And, Marlar asked, what about the lack of coaches?

“They [the Chinese officials] said, ‘Don’t worry, we will take them into camp for three months’ and when I pressed the point they said it may well be six months. That is how they launched table tennis and swimming, in which they now excel. They just did it. The potential is enormous.”

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

RSS Feeds: Martin Williamson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Optimist on (March 20, 2007, 8:23 GMT)

One needs to consider in the broadest sense that sport for the non-player is about enjoyment and also bridging cultures. However China get there, irrespective of how this affects the ICC, I wish them all the best.

Posted by Cynic on (February 16, 2007, 16:35 GMT)

As ever with the ICC, its about cash. The only reason Speed and his bunch want into China is so they can get even more television cash to squander on flights around the world and top hotels for them and their mates.

Comments have now been closed for this article


Martin Williamson
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.

All articles by this writer