Projects to boost Chinese cricket approved

Published: Sunday, November 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Islamabad:The Asian Cricket Council has approved special development projects to promote cricket in China, officials said.

"The ACC development committee meeting has approved a budget of 5.6 million dollars for the next fiscal year and we have special development programmes for China, where the interest is growing fast," ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq told AFP on Saturday.

During its development committee meeting here, the ACC chalked out a development plan for the next five years with special emphasis on China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed visited China earlier this year and was impressed with the interest in the game there.

Huq said the ACC had also requested special funds from the ICC for China.

"The ICC has also promised help for China and we have also requested for special funds from the ICC. China's school team of under 15 years of age will be among eight teams participating in a school event in Thailand next month," said Huq, a former secretary of the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

Already, 200,000 dollars has been provided by the ACC, a sum which would be matched by a further 200,000 dollars from the ICC, Huq said.

An under-15s competition among schools was held in Beijing in July this year while the first inter-university competition was also held there last month.

Sports officials in Beijing first expressed an interest in cricket a decade ago. China was admitted onto the ACC in 2004 and joined the ICC the following year.

A Chinese women's team would next year tour England at the invitation of the Marylebone Cricket Club, said Huq.

The Chinese Cricket Association, headed by Zhang Xiaoning, hopes to have 15,000 cricketers by 2009. Numbers are forecast to rise to 60,000 by 2012 and 150,000 by 2020.

Huq said the ACC was also emphasising the promotion of women's cricket in Asia.

"We have top four Asian nations in men's cricket but we need to put more emphasis on women's cricket," said Huq. He added: "We need to encourage other Asian nations to take up women's cricket and for that we have special plans."

The ACC has given the task to India's Subhangi Kulkarni, who will represent the organisation in developing women's cricket.


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