Cricket in Shenzhen?!
A little known secret in Shenzhen: Hidden on the outskirts of Nanshan, just past Zhang Shan park, is the village school of Tong Le. This is where the first generation of China’s Test Cricketers train. They board in the middle and high school, practicing every day; these 14 to 20 year old boys & girls are hand picked from all over China.
Their coach: Rashid Kahn hails from Pakistan where he trained & played with another Kahn, known as Imran. Rashid believes the boys will soon be on par with other Asian nations, and one year (though not for 5 or 10) will be a test nation along side Australia, Pakistan & India. He admits they still have a lot to learn but if you compare China’s progress in other sports, like field hockey, you can see they are not far off.
If you visit Tong Le School on a Sunday you might catch a few glimpse of a motley crew of foreigners struggling to beat the Tong Le Cricketers. These expats, who call themselves the Shenzhen Commonwealth Cricket Club, or SCCC, enjoy regularly losing to these cricket prodigies. “These kids are amazing, with great sports abilities and athletic instincts,” one out-of-shape foreigner named Mark told us.
The SCCC players re mostly from cricketing countries like India, England, South Africa & Oz (Australia), but a growing number come from Canada and America. In fact, SCCC president and Chairman, Justin Gallego, is a Spanish-Canadian and Jonathan Hyman is American; both are guided by the steady hand of their Captain, Sid Mewara, originally from India. They enjoy Sunday games and welcome anyone, even for the first time, to enjoy one of the best team sports around.
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