China sends its cricketers to SL
At a time the China-Sri Lanka relations are flourishing like never before in recent history, the land of the Dragon sent a young cricketing side to Sri Lanka last month.
The Chinese cricketers played three one-day matches against Nalanda College, Colombo during the last week of January.
The tour was organised as part of the ‘One Belt One Road – China & Sri Lanka Cricket and Culture Exchange Programme’ initiated by GSL Holdings Pvt. Ltd. and was headed by China-based Sri Lankan, Kavisha Lokuhitige.
The tour, probably one of the rarest by a non-Test playing Asian nation, was made possible through Colombo’s Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and SL Army. Brigadier Tilak Weerakone played a key part in organising the tour.
World-renowned cheerleader Percy Abeysekera has been earmarked as an ambassador of China – Sri Lanka cricket relations. Notably, the China tour party included their current national skipper Zhang Yufei. The China juniors lost 2-1 in their three-match series against Nalanda.
The team also visited the historic CCC and its indoor nets facility, Sri Lanka cricket board (SLC) and the SSC in Colombo.
The China team that visited SL in January 2019:
Zhang Yufei (China’s men’s national team Captain), Ren Zi Qi, Yang Qicheng, Li Linchen, Sun Mingyu, Jiao Ao, Gong Mingjun, Luo Tianran, Wang Zheng, Huang Haonan, Tian Mihe, Wan Wenxi, Cai Jian, Kang Chuqi, Wang Jingmin, Yu Hai (Master-in-charge) and Li Xiaojia (an official)
China’s cricket history
* The first recorded cricket match in China was played in 1858 between a team of officers from the British Navy and a side from Shanghai
* From 1866-1948, the Shanghai Cricket Club had acted as a de facto national side playing inter-port matches against international teams
* China’s former territory Hong Kong, an ICC Associate Member since 1969, has played in many major ICC global tournaments in recent times, gaining ICC ODI and T20I status
* The Chinese Cricket Association (CCA), the official governing body of cricket in China, became an ICC Affiliate Member in 2004 and an ICC Associate Member in 2017. It is also a member of the Asian Cricket Council
* China took part in the 2009 ACC Trophy Challenge, their first appearance in a representative tournament
* Cricket is now played in nine cities in China, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Dalian, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Tianjin and Jinan
* According to CCA, China currently has about 70 home-grown teams, mainly in schools and universities. More than 150 schools have taken up cricket
* The ICC has reported approximately 45,000 male players and 35,000 female players in China by April 2016
* The country’s only cricket stadium was built for the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou
* The Chinese women cricketers made their international debut in September 2006 in a Sixes game against Scotland in Shanghai
* They went on to play in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in 2015 and were recognised as a T20I side last year (2018)
* Rashid Khan, Pakistani Test player of the 1980s, took up coaching China men in 2006
* China has funded a 25,000-seater cricket stadium in Jamaica