The Chinese Cricket Association (CCA) is to take delivery of two innovative artificial wickets thanks to a donation from a UK-based supplier. Only just introduced in Hong Kong and new to the rest of Asia, the wickets are a major step forward for cricket in China.

The donation by Notts Sport of their patented Portable Mats represents a terrific vote of confidence in the activity of the Chinese Cricket Association. Shaun Patrick, Chief Executive of Notts Sport, comments: “China’s enthusiasm for cricket, and the Asian Cricket Council’s commitment to the sport, is extremely impressive and is clearly demonstrated by the increasing number of coaches, umpires and children who are learning the game.”

The two 15 metre-wide playing surfaces could even be combined to provide a playing area large enough to stage a youth-level match. Uniquely, the wickets provide support to both seam and spin as well as providing a fast, true bounce and are thus ideal for training purposes.

Danny Lai, a former General Manager of the Hong Kong Cricket Association and currently Director of Hong Kong-based Turf Solutions, instigated the donation while in Beijing to watch the CCA’s Inaugural Youth Tournament in July. He says, “This is just the first step, more wickets will be provided when the time is right. Permanent ones too. Within a short space of time, cricket has established a foothold in the mainland and once these wickets come into play, cricket activity will grow even more.”

Calvin Leung of the CCA says, “The sponsorship is very much appreciated and we will look to use the portable mats first to train the China U-15 team for the ACC Trophy in December.”

Notts Sport is the fore-runner of what is expected to be a number of corporate sponsors coming forward to support cricket in China.

Filed July 21, 2006