Batting For The Middle Kingdom


2013112020190521 (BBC7)
20190522 (BBC7)

In 2012, 24-year-old Jiang Shuyao made sporting history when he became the first mainland Chinese cricketer to play for an English league side.

Jiang's debut season with Cleethorpes Cricket Club drew attention to the rising popularity of the quintessentially British sport in the People's Republic of China.

The Chinese Cricket Association has set itself the target of achieving Test match status and playing against the likes of England, Australia and South Africa by 2020.

A grass roots campaign to get the game taught in schools is well underway, and in the city of Shenyang in Liaoning province in North Eastern China, the country's top side is fast becoming a nurturing ground for the star players of the future.

If China were to one day become a cricketing nation, the International Cricket Council has estimated that global revenues for the game could increase by as much as 40 per cent.

Fred Dove has been meeting some of China's finest cricketers, and talking to those attempting to make the game of WG Grace and Donald Bradman part of the Chinese way of life.

Producer: Jessie Levene
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4 first broadcast in 2013.

Fred Dove investigates China's attempts to make itself a cricketing nation.