Six Chinese national cricketers are heading to London this year for a season of coaching and play. They will be coaching too. They will be in England as guests of Capital Kids Cricket (CKC), a charity dedicated to increasing cricketing opportunities for London’s inner-city and state school children. England’s Ravi Bopara is a former Capital Kids Cricketer as are a number of current county cricketers.

The three men are national cricketers and have represented China in the 2010 Asia Games. All-rounders Zhang Yufei and Li Jian have been playing for six years. They are at university and playing cricket in Shanghai. Song Yangyang is a specialist batsman and the current Chinese U-19 captain. Three women, Huang Zhuo, Zhou Haijie and Yu Miao are also Asian Games cricketers having graduated from Shenyang Sport University and are currently coaching part-time in China. “This is an incredible opportunity for these young men and women to not only improve as cricketers but also to act as standard-bearers for Chinese cricket. It’s like Ranjitsinhji going to England more than 100 years ago – people didn’t even think Indians could play cricket but within just a few years he was making centuries for England against Australia,” says ACC Development Officer for China Aminul Islam. “Seeing these cricketers, the way they play, the way they behave, people will understand that China is a genuine cricketing nation that is creating quality cricketers,” adds Aminul.

China’s Yu Miao takes on Bangladesh at the Guangzhou Asian Games

The Chinese men and women are much-travelled already, having either played or been coached in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand and the UAE as well as in more than a half a dozen towns and cities in China. The London-based charity's Asian initiative was proposed by CKC Development Head Coach Shahidul Alam Ratan last year. "Although this work is outside our usual geographical territory, it is a huge privilege to be asked to boost the growth of Chinese cricket," says CKC founder Haydn Turner, "China is a key centre in the development of international sport and the establishment of cricket there would go far towards guaranteeing its growth throughout the rest of the world. We very much hope that commercial sponsorship from firms both in China and Britain will enable us to turn a one-year initiative into an enduring campaign."

Li Jian extreme left, Song Yangyang third from left, Zhang Yufei extreme right salute the crowd in China

The ACC is paying for the Chinese cricketers’ travel while CKC will provide accommodation and other living expenses.

"If these trainees are able to be further developed as cricketers thanks to CKC, it will be a major boost to them, Chinese cricket and, I hope, the game as a whole," says ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq.

Capital Kids Cricket
China Cricket Profile

Filed April 3rd, 2012