Cricket’s popularity in the media has taken it to new territories. From Afghanistan to China, countries that knew nothing of the allure of cricket twenty years ago have become members of the ACC and ICC. Cricket has gone global to the extent that ICC membership has doubled in ten years.

The potential number of people exposed to cricket in Asia alone has risen from 750 million to nearly 2.5 billion. Much of this increase in numbers is due to the rise of China and, truly, cricket could not be called a global game without the participation of the most populous country in the world. China’s tremendous resources could well see it make huge developmental strides in a relatively short period of time. Our Executive Directors and Directors of Development have been tireless in their efforts to create the vital foundations of a gaming culture and infrastructure in cricket’s fledgling countries. It has been an eventful 12 months for cricket in Asia.

It started with the historic series between Pakistan and India in Pakistan and concluded with the second leg matches between these teams in India. Our sport should take immense pride in the way it has brought these two nations closer together. Both countries welcomed their visitors with open arms and the matches provided a feast of entertainment for tens of thousands of spectators and millions of viewers around the world.

The lowest point of the year was the Tsunami of December 26. The tragic impact this had on the region will never be forgotten. News of the young cricketers lost to the tsunami in Chennai and the utter devastation of Galle in Sri Lanka brought the cricketing world together like never before. The Asian Cricket Council reacted quickly and assembled a team of the continent’s best players to take on an ICC XI in the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal Match in Melbourne.

Sri Lanka’s remembrance of the year will no doubt focus on the devastation of the tsunami and the relief efforts that followed. Sri Lanka still posted a positive record for the year, losing just two of eight Test matches and five of twenty-three ODIs and their players showed dignity by taking a leadership role in helping survivors Oman announced themselves on the international stage in qualifying for the ICC Trophy ahead of more experienced rivals and Malaysia acted as an impressive host to the ICC World Cup Qualifying Series, an event for which Kuwait and Qatar were surprisingly qualified.

This will also go down in history as the year China joined the international cricket family.

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