Players traveled to Chiayi City this weekend for the 14th edition of the national cricket sixes competition organized by the Chinese Cricket Development Association (CCDA), but the future for the sport in Taiwan remains uncertain.
Taipei City’s Pakistan Cricket Club completed their fourth tournament victory in a hard-fought battle with defending champions the Taiwan Stars, but will the result have any lasting significance? Will Rehan Naeem’s two wickets be recalled as the turning point in the match? Will the restrictive bowling of Shoaib Tanweer be talked about at future matches? Will Amjad Zafar be able to tell the story of his final over when he conceded only seven runs to seal victory? Will the Cobras look back fondly on their first appearance as a club? Will the Royals and Scunners be sanctioned for turning up short or not turning up at all?
Cricket faces numerous challenges: taking on a baseball-mad sporting environment, navigating the political minefield of recognition, promotion and funding, holding on to its ephemeral player base and finding a proper field to play on. None of these challenges are going to be overcome in a short time.
Photo: Caitlin Robinson
There have been sporadic advances over the past decade, but not a lot has changed significantly. Cricket is still played primarily by expat Indians, Pakistanis and South Africans on the red sand of baseball fields over intense, weekend-long tournaments. It is beginning to suffer from the often unrecognized inevitability: If it does not grow, it will die.
The challenges it faces are not insurmountable, but they do require a change in approach. One thing that has changed dramatically is the emergence of a rivalry in the women’s game. Chiayi City’s Darling Daredevils team, managed by South African Mary Mullan-Christie, met Greater Tainan’s Chang Jung Christian University (CJCU) in a series of three matches, which was won 2-1 by CJCU. Their best player, all-rounder Ma Yi-ru, has added boundary hitting to her repertoire and led the side to victory.
It might be the political environment that poses the greatest challenge to cricket’s progress, which is probably true globally as well as locally.
Photo: Caitlin Robinson
There are currently three governing bodies for the game, the CCDA, the Taipei Cricket Federation (TCF) and the Chinese Taipei Cricket Association (CTCA), which is the national body. Andrew Carrick heads the CCDA and is the man most responsible for the matches that get played around the island. Vincent Wang runs the TCF from Taipei Physical Education College and Chen Tai-sheng set up the CTCA. However, for all the acronyms, there is not much recognized authority.
The political challenge to overcome is that a recognized hierarchy needs to be established. The CTCA is nominally in control, as it has the recognition of the Taiwan Olympic Committee and the Asian Cricket Council, but they command almost no respect from the clubs. The TCF has a shot at establishing the game in Taipei — a crucial element to see real development — with a tournament planned for next month and a league on the cards for December.
Whatever the playing details, the issue of hierarchy and proper authority remains most vital. Too many other sports in the nation are beset with issues because there are too many organizations all doing their own thing.
That might be fine for soccer, which will always have a player base and something akin to grass to run around on, but it will be terminal for cricket, which requires much more dedication in terms of administration and infrastructure.
There is a future for cricket in Taiwan, but its clubs and organizing bodies need to grow up. The game will not survive here if it remains restricted to baseball fields. Its history and traditions will be lost if the clubs cannot start producing the bare minimum of a readable scorecard.
The player base will not grow if all the effort from a dedicated few that goes into organizing events is targeted at the small and transient population of people who learned the game elsewhere.
If cricket does not grow, it will die. There are the resources developing that can help it — Holocene Cricket has started importing equipment and www.taiwancricket.com has signed a deal with www.cricHQ.com to manage schedules and statistics — but it will all come down to the willingness of the clubs and the organizations to deal honestly and rationally with each other.
Cricket action returns to Chiayi City on Oct. 12 and Oct. 13 at the Jan Hong Tournament.
Additional reporting by Andrew Carrick
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on