Slow progress continues in China
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 Africa