Headline Aug 02, 2015/ ''' HOWZAT?! - CHINA '''

''' HOWZAT?! - CHINA '''

CRICKET is not unknown in China. The first recorded match was in 1858, and Shanghai had a cricket ground, albeit in the middle of a racecourse, by 1863.

The International community kept the game alive until the Communist Revolution in 1949.

It didn't stir again until after Deng Xiaoping opened China's doors to the outside world in the late 1970s. Teams from Hong Kong started to visit in the 1980s, and by late 1990s enthusiasts staged an international  six-a-side tournament that is-

Now held annually in Shanghai and attracts well-known international names, mostly from Australia. 

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS looks at the promise of the Chines market as dreamily as as any other industry.

Now one of the least-globalised, though most widely played,  games   -cricket-   is trying to get into the act.

The truth is that that cricket's epicenter has moved to Asia, particularly the subcontinent, where it is raucous and highly charged affair played before huge crowds.

India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are among the top cricket playing nations. Bangladesh, too, numbers among the elite group of ten Test nations that play the highest-level international cricket.

The success of Asian nations at the Test level has not gone unnoticed by Chinese officials. 

It was while accompanying a Chinese rugby team to a youth tournament in New Zealand in 1996 that Li Gaochao   -later a deputy director in the sports ministry, then a more junior official watched-

Sri Lank's televised defeat of Australia in the 1996 final of cricket's quadrennial World Cup. It struck a chord with Li and his fellow officials engaged in the calculated process of staking out China's place in the world.

They saw how well Asian countries, even small islands like Siri Lanka, did in international competition.They also noted the extensive TV coverage of cricket throughout Asia, as well as the regional prestige gained as a result.

International cricket is not a big money game by professional sports standards. Its revenues, as well as anyone can estimate are in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The ICC's operating revenues were $49.3 million in 2005, which included income from Global Cricket Corp, the News Corp owned company to which the council has subcontracted marketing of its broadcasting and sponsorship rights.  

But national cricket boards also sell the the broadcasting rights for five-day Test matches and one-day international matches. At the time, in 2005,  India's rights for the next four years have been contentiously sold for $300 million,-

With local media mogul Subhash Chandra's Zee Telefilms battling it out with ESPN Star Sports. Rupert Murdoch's joint venture with Walt Disney Co, Televised cricket is a $150 million-a -year plus, plus,  advertising market in India.

Hardly, anyone in China plays cricket. There are at best a few score active players, over whelmingly expats, and no professionals. The Chinese government is working to change that-

Bringing the same purposeful state-planning to the task that it has successfully directed at other sports, such as swimming and track. The state-run Chinese Cricket Association was formed just recently and joined ICC and ACC as an affiliate.

The plan calls for the country to have  20,000 trained players, 300 umpires and 2,000 coaches by 2015. The sports ministry has earmarked a playing ground in Beijing, which the ACC will develop into an international-standard venue.

The goal is national team good enough to compete in the 2019 World Cup.

Officials have started to build a pipeline of young cricket players, looking at the example of Hong Kong, where cricket is long established because of the British connection. An ACC- backed development program there has 6,000 local school children playing the game.

Some schools in Beijing and Shanghai have also been instructed to start playing the game, as have those in southern China's Guangzhou, where the warmer is climate is more conducive to a longer playing season.

China is all set for the glories and the glorious uncertainty of cricket. 

China's top-down approach to sports has made it  world-class in swimming and track in less than 30 years, and it would be foolish to bet against it.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of China. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Training Ground '''

Good Night and God bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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