They may be new to the cricketing world and far from understanding the nuances of the sport, but Chinese women cricketers are getting ready to prove their mettle in the next year's Asian Games in Guangzhou.
The 15-member squad is currently training at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali under their head coach Mamatha Maben, a former India international cricketer.
Maben, who has been attached with the team since March this year, feels the team has been making good progress.
“There are not too many players who have taken up the sport in China and among women, there are just a negligible few,” she said. “Only 15 play cricket and all of them are here,” Maben said.
Maben thinks they have finally reached a stage where they can now really train to acquire higher skill levels. “When I went there I found that they did not have any formal training on stroke-making. So for the first few months, it was just basic training for the girls,” she said.
The team's average age is 22. It is here on a special invite from PCA president I.S. Bindra, who is looking after the development of the game in the United States of America and China.
“They are starting from scratch. This is the first time they have played on a turf wicket. Though a brand-new stadium is being built in Guangzhou for the Games, there is no basic infrastructure,” says Maben.
The girls are also excited because their visit will coincide with the India-Australia ODI match.
The team is led by young medium pacer Wong Meng.
“It was after coming here that we realised how popular the game is in this part of the country. We have been regularly watching the T20 Champions League,” Meng said.
Maben believes that the team now only needs exposure and practice. The team’s aim: reaching the semifinals in the Asian Games.