How do you spend your time in China?

“Some of it is in the company of the Chinese Cricket Association officials as we go to schools. On the field it is 9 to 6 with the players and local coaches doing practises and drills in camps before every tournament. When Aminul (Islam) and Rumesh (Ratnayake) are here we achieve more.  After outdoor sessions we go indoors and watch DVDs of cricket and talk through them. The Chinese are quite amazed by the crowds that come to the big matches.”

What have you learnt about China’s sports system in your time there?

“It is all about results. They like to win. They like money. They have strategy to achieve that and the system is quite tough on any weakness. I don’t think cricket is understood too much but they know that China has a chance and they know that cricket is rich so the interest of the administrator is there. But development is new, coaching systems are new and China is new to cricket so it is not easy. It is like me learning Chinese by reading a dictionary and watching Chinese movies. To those who want quick results I say it is not possible, to those who want good results I say it is possible. But only if good things are done every step of the way.”

"If the CCA give me the raw material, everything will be used to create best possible results for China"

“China beat India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in the 2006 Asian Games hockey, thirty years after hockey was learnt in China so given time and good efforts China can be a force in cricket. India and Pakistan when I was growing up were Olympic champions, world champions.”

Watching, waiting

“The difference between now and the 1970s to 1990s is that the world is much more aware of China so anything it does becomes big news. Whatever anyone in China did then I did not know. Whatever I do now in China everyone can know. No one realistically expects much from China in the next few tournaments but if we are to think of real things then we should not even try. I am here in China, to give cricket a chance to grow in a new country, the one with the most population because if cricket grows here, cricket grows as a sport. It is not about money. I am here to do my work as someone who loves cricket more than anything. If the CCA give me the raw material, everything PCB, ACC and ICC can give will be used to create best possible results for the China team. They have the talent, one or two boys in this U-17 team even have the right kind of fire that will make them a champion in any sport. I hope they can choose cricket in which to shine. In our big defeat to Oman, Xu Peng Peng hit a beautiful cover-drive for 6, the first one by China in international cricket, and then another one for 4. I call him the ‘Chinese Afridi’ and if I can help him to be a better cricketer then China and I will be happy.”

Who will do better in the 2010 Asian Games, China’s men or women cricketers?

“I think, women. They have more maturity than the teenagers in the men’s team and the players in the squad also have stronger sports backgrounds. China’s athletes are all tough but the toughness of the women cricketers has surprised me the most and when they play against the other women’s countries in the Asian Games I do not think the gap between them and the other teams will be so much as the men.”

“If China realise that the men are under a big spotlight in the Asian Games and dedicate everything the can to the next 700 days in preparation then the men’s team can win a lot of honour for China. After 20 days we have seen boys do just the basics. After 700 they can do a lot more. Realistically, I think China could beat a non-Test qualifier in the Asian Games. That is the goal. That would be enough.”

China Profile

Rashid Khan Cricinfo Profile

Filed November 26, 2008