KUALA LUMPUR: China may have the world’s biggest population and the second largest economy, but they are yet to impress in one area: the cricket field, where they have been humbled by minnows Nepal.
China’s latest foray on the international stage ended in a huge defeat on Wednesday as they scored only 26 all out in a World Twenty20 qualifier, a total which Nepal surpassed in just 11 balls.
It wasn’t even their worst innings of the tournament: China were 26 all out in their loss to Singapore, and they had scores of 35 for nine, 45, and 48 in defeats to Thailand, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Given that the highest score in top-tier T20 internationals is Australia’s 263 for three against Sri Lanka in 2016, China still have some way to go.
Against Nepal, opening batsman Yan Hongjiang top-scored for China with 11 runs. The next biggest contribution was the nine extras, and IPL bowler Sandeep Lamichhane picked up three wickets for four runs.
Qun Tiansen, one of eight Chinese players out for a duck, then went for 21 runs in his first and only over as Binod Bhandari smashed 24 in Nepal’s quickfire reply of 29-0.
Cricket in China has a short history with its national team making its first international appearance at the 2010 Asian Games.
The giant nation is known for ploughing huge sums into sports, especially football and the Olympic disciplines. But cricket does not enjoy a similar status in China.
“The size of country and its power do not matter (in cricket),” former Nepal captain Binod Das told AFP in Kathmandu.
“We shouldn’t undermine them because they may takeover in future as they have capacity to invest in infrastructure and skill development.”
Nepal, meanwhile, gained ODI status in March and have now set their sights on joining the world’s elite by achieving Test status.
A former official with Nepal’s cricket association, Chhumbi Lama, said the victory over China was always a formality for the small, Himalayan nation.
“China might be stronger in terms of power and economy than Nepal, but Nepal is stronger than China when it comes to cricket. Beating China is not a big achievement for Nepal,” he told AFP. —AFP
Kohli shields India’s ‘boy wonder’ from Tendulkar shadow
HYDERABAD: Virat Kohli sought to protect prolific teenager Prithvi Shaw Thursday from the weight of comparisons with India legend Sachin Tendulkar after the young batsman’s Test debut century last week.
Another century in the second match against the West Indies which begins on Friday in Hyderabad would see Shaw join a small group of greats including Mohammad Azharuddin, Sourav Ganguly and Rohit Sharma who all hit tons in their first two Tests.
The 18-year-old became India’s youngest player to score a debut century and his country’s second youngest in all Tests after Tendulkar — who was 17 when he made an unbeaten 119 against England in his ninth Test.
Shaw’s sparkling 134 in the first Test rout in Rajkot had some commentators dubbing him India’s “boy wonder” ahead of the tour of Australia next month.
But captain Kohli warned India’s notoriously demanding fans not to expect too much too soon from Shaw, who was earmarked as a future star when as a 14-year-old he hit a record 546 off 330 balls in a Mumbai school game in 2013.
“We are all very happy for him but I don’t think we should compare him to anyone yet or we should put him in a space where he starts feeling pressure,” Kohli told reporters.
“He should be left to enjoy his cricket and slowly grow into the cricketer that we all believe he can be,” said Kohli who hailed the diminutive right hander as “supremely talented”.
“He has shown that in the first Test already and we believe he can keep repeating that because he is a very keen learner, he is a very sharp guy and he understands situations really well.”
Kohli said Shaw, 21-year-old wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant and batsman Hanuma Vihari, 24, had learned to handle the stress of top competition by playing in the Indian Premier League.
– Big stage veterans –
“One always feels that pressure when you wear your country’s cap on the morning of the match but yes, I think it’s not as intense as say 10-15 years back when you didn’t have any exposure to this kind of cricket,” said Kohli.
“They have played in situations like the IPL where they have played in front of so many people that they are not nervous any more of the big stage,” he added.
“They are not overawed by the scenario and I think that’s always going to be an advantage because the guys can be fearless and they can start doing the job from game one.”
Shaw’s 2013 schoolboy exploits had already caused comparisons to be made with Tendulkar, who rose to prominence in the same Harris Shield competition more than two decades earlier.
Shaw went on to make more headlines in India with debut centuries in both the domestic Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy and he was awarded the captaincy of country’s Under-19 team.
He led them to success in the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand this year where they beat Australia in the final.
He has featured for Delhi Daredevils in the 2018 IPL but it was his debut Test ton, with 19 boundaries, that saw the rest of the cricket world take notice.
“Wow, carry on young man good luck,” wrote former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Twitter.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted: “Wow… 18 yrs old @PrithviShaw. 100 on Test debut .. Looks like #India have another superstar”.—AFP