Cricket in Taiwan could receive a shot in the arm

Large group photo of all the teams at the start of a tournament in which we hosted two traveling teams from Hong Kong. The deputy mayor of Chiayi was also in attendance to welcome the traveling teams and open the tournament for us. (Photo: Mary Mullan Christie)

The Chinese Taipei Cricket Sports Association (CTCSA) has announced new plans to grow and develop cricket in the country. The plans, reportedly unveiled at an event in Chiayi City, include building two new cricket fields in Mailiao Township, Yunlin County, in Taiwan’s west.

According to CTCSA Chairman Lu Jia-Hong, the Association is also looking to gain membership of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC), a previous application of which lapsed in the middle of the last decade, after visits to the island by ACC Development Officers. There is speculation that this push from the CTCSA is part of an attempt to include cricket in a future Asian Games, for which Taiwan may launch another bid.

In a December interview with Emerging Cricket, Duane Christie, an expatriate who co-organised the Taipei T10 League 2020 said, ‘associations were formed in an attempt to formalise cricket in Taiwan and get grants from the local government to develop and hopefully secure adequate cricket grounds that was a requirement for the ACC accreditation.’ According to Christie, ultimately these attempts did not come to fruition because the ‘local Taiwanese population are simply not interested in the sport.’

This latter reality presents a fundamental challenge for any attempts to field a functionally competitive national cricket team in the Asian Games, although both Korea and China have shown it can be done at relatively short notice.

Taiwan Darling Daredevils pose at the end of a day’s play during a tournament held in Chiayi City in 2020 (Photo: Mary Mullan Christie)

In the mean time, it is passionate expats such as the Duane and his wife Mary Mullan Christie who keep the game literally alive. In addition to running the ‘Taiwan Darling Daredevils’ club, the Christies were a key driving force behind last year’s T10 League, which was broadcast live during the pandemic. The say that the broadcasting of the league prompted an explosion in cricket – mainly from expats – across the island.

According to the Taipei Times, there are currently more than thirteen cricket clubs in Taiwan, one of which, the Pakistan Cricket Club Taiwan (PCCT) manages the only ground on the island. The Yingfeng Cricket Ground has a concrete pitch with matting covering only three-fourths of the length. The two new grounds being proposed by the CTCSA would be very welcome.

While open to the CTCSA’s proposals, Mary Mullan Christie would like to see expatriates keeping the sport afloat to be included in the implementation of these plans. She told the Taipei Times, ‘my deepest wish is that one of us, from the current Taiwan Cricket playing community, could be included in the association’s decision-making body in order to facilitate communication and ensure that, in the end, local cricket development reaps the rewards of this ambitious plan.’

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