China cricket coach excited by women's progress
May 08 2012 - 21:17:01
China's coach Rashid Khan on Tuesday expressed high hopes for his women's team at this year's Asia Cup Twenty20, saying that they were outperforming the men.
The 52-year-old former Pakistan paceman has spent five years coaching China since the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and International Cricket Council marked the country as one of the biggest new markets for the game.
Khan said the women's Twenty20 tournament in October in Guangzhou, southern China, would be a turning point.
The Chinese women's team "has shown more progress than their men's team and I pin my hopes on the Asia Cup Twenty20 event... as the turning point where my team will create upsets," Khan told AFP while on holiday in Pakistan.
Besides the hosts, formidable teams from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand will participate in the event.
Khan said the pool of women players in China was increasing.
"Chinese women are athletic and are showing interest in cricket. At present we have a pool of 150 players and with the introduction of the game in schools and colleges more and more women will come," said Khan.
China finished fourth in the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010 before finishing runners-up in the ACC women's Trophy the same year, losing to Hong Kong in the final.
China's under-19 women's team finished fifth out of nine teams in the ACC under-19 event held in Kuwait in February and Khan said these performances were encouraging.
He welcomed support from the Chinese authorities and said the ACC's decision to send Chinese players on coaching courses had honed their talent.
"Without the ACC's support the progress of Chinese cricket would not be possible and the recent initiative to send Chinese players to England and various other countries have helped groom them a great deal," said Khan.
Top Chinese women players Huang Zhou, Zhou Haijie and Yu Miao will train in England and Khan hoped they would mature as a result.
Khan said his men's team will feature in the ACC Trophy Challenge in Thailand in December, where they have a good chance against low-ranked teams like Bahrain, Iran, Myanmar, Qatar, Singapore and Thailand.