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Bowling the Chinese over

By Krishna Kumar Vr For China Daily (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-05 08:19

It was the first-ever victory tasted by the Chinese team since the Chinese Cricket Association, the controlling body of cricket in China, became an International Cricket Council (ICC) affiliate member in 2004. As the host nation, China also participated in cricket during the 2010 Asian Games.

Since joining the ICC, the Chinese Cricket Association has conducted coaching and training courses with assistance from the ACC. The sport is now played in major cities including Shenyang, Dalian and Jinan as well as Beijing and Shanghai.

Bowling the Chinese over
Asian star power 
Bowling the Chinese over
"I crisscross the country. I do more travel and less cricket," Islam jokes. "Nevertheless, it has been very exciting working with the Chinese."

Many of the schools in China are involved in the development of cricket in the country, and female teams in particular are proving that they have got what it takes to do well.

"China's women's team has been runner-up in the ACC Premier League for the last three years. Many regions play cricket in China and all of them are bigger than Bangladesh and Sri Lanka," says Islam.

However, he says that when spreading the word in China, the main barriers he found were language and culture. "Before I went there I took courses in Mandarin which has really helped me." But he says cricket has its own language.

The former team captain believes that for cricket to develop as a global sport "you need population, stable economy and sporting history".

"China has been ruling the Olympics and other world championships for many years," he says. "Now they have started loving cricket, and they take it very seriously. I am glad to see China playing cricket. Once they become a fully fledged test team it will be exciting."

He recalls that when Bangladesh was an ICC associate member team, no one ever thought that the nation would play at test match level, or be in the World Cup. "So China can one day," he believes.

Islam quickly adds that for China, the idea is not to be content only to play the sport. "China is keen on the business side of the sport, too," he says. "They want to organize tournaments and be part of the game in total."

Bowling the Chinese over Bowling the Chinese over

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