Home nation China are preparing for the Asian Games in Guangzhou next month at a special camp deep in the Guangdong Province countryside, 160 kilometres from Guangzhou. “It has been hard, grinding, repetitive work for the men’s and women’s teams. Rashid Khan, Mamatha Maben, Monjurul Islam and the Chinese coaches have been doing all kinds of drills and fine-tuning as the Games get near,” says ACC Development Officer for China Aminul Islam.

In anticipation of facing the highest calibre of bowling yet seen in the Chinese mainland, the men’s team have adopted a practise handed down to them by Pakistan’s ‘Ambassador for Cricket to China’ Javed Miandad playing short-pitched bowling off a slab of marble placed on a length. Javed used it from the 1980s onwards in preparation for any encounter against the West Indies, “and on the new Guangzhou wickets which could be fast, and a guaranteed game against Pakistan or Bangladesh, he recommended it,” said former Pakistan team-mate Rashid Khan. Javed Miandad was on the phone to the camp every day, receiving reports and passing on advice.

Wang Lei plays Zhang Yufei off marble

“The men and women are very fit and are definitely going to be among the best fielding sides in the Asian Games. It has been a three year project for the women and a five year one for the men, they have come a long way and though the women have the better chance in the event the men will play with honour and courage and that will reflect well on the CCA,” says national coach Rashid Khan. “The women,” their Indian coach Mamatha Maben, has famously said, “could definitely” beat India in a few years, and indeed have good medal chances in Guangzhou.

Many of the countries in the cricket event have been training hard for Guangzhou, dedicating themselves to representing their countries to the best of their ability. “It’s the chance of a medal in our home country. It is for China and everyone who has made us succeed,” says women’s captain Wang Meng.

China’s players have travelled epic distances on trains across their country, gone to India and Bangladesh, trained in freezing conditions in Shenyang and humid conditions in Shenzhen and they’ve also had to face down a number of invertebrates in the Qing-Yuan camp. “One of the girls hit a ball into the paddy fields and in going to get it had a snake jump out at her,” says Aminul. “She spread her arms out wide when we asked her how big it was. She wasn’t scared at all and laughed it off. Nothing seems to scare them.”

China and Malaysia’s Women open the Asian Games cricket on November 12 at Guangdongg International Cricket Stadium.

Asian Games Cricket Schedule
China: Advancing in Cricket
Aminul Islam: A Cricketing Journey
China Cricket Profile

Filed October 27th, 2010