Marylebone Cricket Club and the Melbourne Cricket Club are in Hong Kong to play each other and the Hong Kong Cricket Club this week. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) are opening and closing their tour with games against China, the first in Hong Kong and the second in Guangzhou. “We’re thrilled to be playing MCC again,” says Wang Lei China’s captain. “It’s a great privilege and I hope we will impress them.”

MCC, “the world’s most active cricket-playing club” as well as being custodians of the Laws of Cricket and prime upholders of the Spirit of Cricket, were last in China in September 2006. Cricket was just starting to be played in the country then and MCC say they “are hoping to help fast-track the development of Chinese cricket” during the tour. They play a Twenty20 match in Hong Kong against China and then a 40-over game in Guangzhou, in between which they play a triangular with Hong Kong Cricket Club and the Melbourne Cricket Club.

MCC playing in Beijing in 2006

Former England captain Mike Gatting is managing MCC, which has former England spinner Min Patel in the side, on his second trip to China, and two other county players. “Cricket has become one of the fastest growing sports in China, and significant steps have been made in recent years with regard to the development of the infrastructure and playing standard. Coaches, umpires and participant numbers have risen steadily, and in 2010 China entered a men’s and a women’s side in the Asian Games for the first time. MCC wanted to encourage this enthusiasm, and we are delighted to be involved in the development of cricket in this region once more,” says Mr. Gatting.

It was Mike Gatting’s dismissal for a duck by a Hamid Hassan in a game against Afghanistan in Mumbai in 2006, on the way to a 196-run MCC loss, that put Afghanistan on the map and there are hopes that China’s players will be able to similarly impress. “They’ve been training hard, in a way like Afghanistan’s cricketers, cricket is the only thing China’s players have which gives them a chance to be exceptional. They are whole-hearted triers and have dedicated themselves to become better,” says ACC Development Officer for China Aminul Islam. “So much has changed since then, China now has a world-class cricket ground in Guangzhou and an excellent women’s cricket team. If the men’s team do well, it will be a great boost for the sport in the country.”

Hong Kong Cricket Club
Marylebone Cricket Club
Melbourne Cricket Club
China Cricket Profile

Filed April 21st, 2011