Cricket: China among targets for expansion plans

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Australian and New Zealand cricket chiefs are to target China, Japan and other Asia-Pacific countries in an attempt to find new nations to play the sport.

The Australian Cricket Board's chief executive, Malcolm Speed, outlined the project at the launch of the new season Down Under at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday.

"This is part of the International Cricket Council's push to make cricket a global game," he said. "We are looking at a number of potential countries where we might seek to develop the game, and these include China and Japan, where the huge populations are a big attraction.

"The first stage will be to get some professional development officers and coaches into countries to put infrastructures in place."

Australia's captain, Mark Taylor, used the occasion to appeal to the ACB to resist appointing separate captains for Tests and limited-overs games, as he thinks the position should be regarded as "sacred".

Glamorgan, the county champions, have been awarded a grant of pounds 3.2m towards the construction of a centre of cricketing excellence at their Sophia Gardens headquarters in Cardiff.

The grant, more than double the previous highest amount awarded by the Sports Lottery Foundation for Wales, will pay for an indoor cricket hall, comprising seven practice nets with back-up equipment to videotape players' performances, and is part of a planned pounds 20m redevelopment.