As you’ll see when you read our brief exposé on Chinese cricket captains, it’s a limited field. We don’t want to give away the reasons for that just yet, but suffice it to say things were afoot in China that prevented the nation from having an organized and competing national team until very recently.
- We would be remiss for not mentioning the Shanghai Cricket Club. This prestigious sporting team ran from 1866 to 1948 (how communism changes things!). It was more or less the only organized cricket squad in China at the time and represented its country in lieu of a proper national team in a number of matches throughout those years. Notable British players on Shanghai Cricket Club include John Mayhew and Howard Parkes. Who was the captain? Sadly, history has forgotten.
- The modern history of cricket in China begins in 2005, when the ancient nation finally transitioned from the pretense of communism to a strange hybrid of modern capitalism and crumbed communist totalitarianism. In that year, the Chinese Cricket Association began making a concerted effort to organize and standardize cricket throughout the enormous country. Those efforts resulted in an organized league and a proper national team.
- The contemporary organization of cricket in China is, as can be expected from such a large country, complex. There are local leagues, citywide leagues and national leagues. There is also a national team, which we’ll come to in just a minute. Among the cities with prominent cricket leagues are Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin. A number of colleges and universities participate in these leagues, and teams exist at the high school level as well. China joined the Asian Cricket Council in 2004. The national men’s and women’s teams began competing at the under 17 level in 2007 though they first stepped onto the international stage in earnest in 2009.
- Wang Lei is the captain of the Chinese men’s cricket team as of 2011. He has captained the team since it stepped onto the international stage in 2009. He has led the team to a number of crushing defeats, though he has served a much more important purpose than team leader. As the team’s captain and central figure, it has been upon Wang Lei to increase the exposure of cricket in his homeland and educate the Chinese people as to the nature of the game, which is still foreign in the Middle Kingdom.
- Wang Meng, the Chinese women’s team captain, has been described as a “can do” player by the Asian Cricket Council. Wang is a former volleyball player who switched to cricket when she felt she had reached her limits in the former sport. According to Wang, “Cricket is dynamic, flowing and very technical, just like volleyball.” Though the team has been playing since 2006, before Wang arrived, it was not recognized as an official squad until 2007.