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Javed Miandad, the former Pakistan batsman, has said cricket has tremendous potential to grow in China, having observed how the youngsters have taken to the game following a visit to the country as a Pakistan cricket ambassador.
"The interest of cricket in China is amazing and I think the country can progress by leaps and bounds," Miandad told AFP on his return home. "I saw great interest among the students and the support from the government adds to the potential which is very heartening. I would love to go back and help them make a strong team for international events."
Miandad had quit as director general of the Pakistan Cricket Board in January and in his new role as ambassador, was approached by Afghanistan to help them qualify for the 2011 World Cup. He said Pakistan will play an active role in developing cricket in China by providing the right facilities and expertise.
"Pakistan and China have signed a memorandum of understanding under which we will provide them coaches so that they can learn the basics and improve at a grass-roots level," he said.
China has been an affiliate member of the Asian Cricket Council and the ICC since 2004. China won the ICC global development award for the region in 2005. There’s a chance of Twenty20 cricket being included at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.
However, Miandad stressed that China will still require a lot more support to entertain thoughts of competing at the world stage. "They need support from the cricket world and I firmly believe that if they get the necessary support they can give some quality players to the game and through their interest the boundaries of the game will spread."
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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