Meg Lanning, captain of the Australian women's cricket team that finished runner-up to the West Indies in the ICC World T20 Championship, is off to China to train with the country's national team in Shanghai. Lanning's visit is part of a joint Cricket Australia and International Cricket Council delegation to the April Australia Week in China, a Cricket Australia media release said yesterday.
"Lanning will join the Chinese national women's cricket team training camp in Shanghai, take part in a cricket clinic for Shanghai students, and attend the Australia Week in China gala lunch hosted by the Australian Government," it said. Having narrowly missed out on qualifying for the recent ICC Women's World T20 held in India, China is considered a rising cricket-playing nation having a realistic chance to qualify for the Women's World T20 in 2018 and 2020.
There are currently 80,000 cricket participants in China, approximately half of whom are female. In Shanghai ¿ where Meg will assist the national Chinese women's team training camp ¿ cricket is played in 18 of the city's 40 universities, the CA release stated. As recent evidence of the progress being made in the region, Chinese national player Wu Juan received a rookie contract with the Melbourne Stars in the inaugural Women's Big Bash T20 League (WBBL) organised in Australia, it added.
"I'm looking forward to visiting China and seeing the development of cricket there first-hand. We've seen how quickly women's cricket has grown across the world ¿ and in particular Australia recently so it's exciting to know the game is growing in China.
"Hopefully we'll be facing up to the Chinese women at the 2018 or 2020 ICC World T20, which would be a massive boost for women¿s cricket," said Lanning who will be in China from April 13-17.
ICC's Head of Global Development Tim Anderson, who will accompany Lanning on the trip, said, "China is one of the ICC's target markets in our vision to become the world's favourite sport. In particular, we see the development of women's cricket and the engagement of government as two important elements to cricket's growth in China."
Spotted: Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma and other celebs at Mumbai airport
Photos: Salman Khan's 'special friend' Iulia Vantur at a song launch
Photos: Hrithik Roshan, Anushka Sharma, other celebs dazzle at event
In Pictures: Sex scandals involving Indian politicians
Photos: Abhishek Bachchan and Farah Khan at Boman Irani's birthday bash