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Meg Lanning visits China to train with Chinese Women’s National Team

Australia Women's skipper impressed with skills on show in Shanghai camp, keen that ICC's drive to give greater exposure to China continues on present path

China Women narrowly missed out on qualification for the recent ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016 in India, and the team has a realistic chance of qualifying for the 2018 Women’s World Twenty20 in the West Indies, and the 2020 Women’s World Twenty20 in Australia.

It is a country bursting with potential and is one of the ICC’s target markets in its vision for cricket to become ‘the world’s favourite sport’.  The development of women’s cricket and the engagement of the government are two important elements to cricket’s growth in China. To that end, Meg Lanning, the Australia Women captain, travelled to China and took part in a training camp with the China Women’s team in Shanghai. It is early days still, but this visit was a great start to build momentum for developing the strategic framework to help grow cricket in China.

The camp, which will run for a month, began last week and Lanning was at hand to assist the participants for three days. In particular, she ran a number of game sense sessions with the team, gave them an insight into the fitness training that Australia Women do, and held a classroom workshop on what it takes to be the world’s best.  Lanning came away feeling that the players certainly had the technical skills as cricketers, and could improve quickly with more high quality coaching and regular match experiences.

The training camp in Shanghai also coincided with Australia Week in China, which was being hosted by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  At the invitation of the Australian Government, Lanning attended the centrepiece gala function on Thursday with ICC’s Head of Global Development, Tim Anderson, China Cricket officials and prominent Australian businessman, former CA Director and current CV Director, Trevor O’Hoy, who is of Chinese heritage.  This provided a fantastic opportunity to promote cricket amongst highly influential Australian and Chinese government officials and some strong connections were established.

Two other Australian coaches will also travel to China to assist in delivering coaching during the camp in the coming few weeks.  Cricket Australia is keen to play a strong role in supporting the ICC with the development of cricket in China.

ICC Head of Global Development Tim Anderson, has accompanied Lanning on the trip, said: “China is one of the ICC’s target markets in our vision to become the world’s favourite sport.  In particular we see the development of women’s cricket and the engagement of government as two important elements to cricket’s growth in China.

“Meg’s visit is an exciting opportunity for the Chinese women’s team to learn from one of the world’s best cricketers, and the gala function presents us with a great platform to engage with government leaders and show that cricket can play a role in strengthening the relationship between Australia and China.”

It is also hoped that cricket can play a role in the broader relationship between Australia and China, particularly given the Australian Government’s focus on sports diplomacy.  Australia recently granted $200,000 through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s ‘Asian Sports Partnerships’ to help CA and the ICC deliver cricket development activities in China (as well as Afghanistan and Nepal).  Lanning assisted in delivering a school clinic in one of the schools that will be the target of this funding.

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