Deal for use of stadium boosts test cricket hope
The possibility of Pakistan playing their home games against Australia or England in Guangzhou has moved closer to reality.
The China Cricket Association has signed a five-year agreement with the Guangdong University of Technology for the use of its international-class stadium built for last year's Asian Games.
Ambitious plans by the Hong Kong Cricket Association to host one-day internationals across the border could bear fruit with the Guangdong International Cricket Stadium being made available exclusively for cricket for six months of the year starting from October 1.
'We have hopes of staging one-day internationals in China as this would help raise the profile of the game on the mainland.
'We will also look at playing some of our domestic cricket across the border next season,' HKCA general manager Danny Lai said.
Lai will accompany Asian Cricket Council chief executive Syed Ashraful Huq to Guangzhou on July 20 when the mainland's cricket governing body will sign a five-deal with the university, allowing them to use the ground between October and March every year.
'It is a win-win situation for everyone. We get a superb international-class facility which both China and Hong Kong can use,' Huq said.
'We are also very hopeful of hosting international games. Pakistan has already expressed they want to host test matches there as they cannot host games at home due to the security issues.'
The HKCA will be involved in any such plans, after being the go-between and instrumental in assisting the development of the game in China before and since the CCA became a member of both the world (International Cricket Council) and Asian (ACC) governing bodies in 2004.
The lack of a full-sized international venue has been a stumbling block in Hong Kong's bid to host one-day internationals.
'China can learn by hosting top quality internationals and I'm sure it will be quite a success as there are a lot of expatriates who love cricket living in Guangzhou,' Lai said.
'As for our domestic plans, apart from playing a few games there, we would also use it as a ground for the national squad training. Instead, of having to fly long distances to go to training camps, we have a good facility on our doorstep.'
The stadium, the only purpose-built cricket ground on the mainland, has 2,000 fixed seats but with temporary seating can expand to 12,000.