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Shandong, the second-most populous province in China, has become the seventh region after Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong, Liaoning, Chongqing and Tianjin to officially take up cricket, according to a media release from the Asian Cricket Council.
“The Shandong people are well known for their good physical condition in China … the majority of rugby players are from Shandong,” Aminul Islam, the ACC’s development officer for China, said. With cricket being aligned with rugby in the multi-ball games administrative centre in China, the Chinese Cricket Association (CCA) felt a partnership between both bodies to make use of athletes all-year round would be ideal.
”The local education bureau has said that they would organize the local junior students to learn cricket for promotion and then build for high performance,” said CCA secretary-general Liu Rongyao.
The appeal of taking the game to China is not hard to see. "The potential benefits and commercial revenues from [China's] presence in the cricket world are enormous," said Syed A shraful Huq, the ACC’s chief executive. "As soon as China breaks though, I foresee the total global revenues for cricket increasing by 30% to 40%.”
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.