CMEC, MCA synergise gateway to China through cricket

Tuesday, 2 September 2014 12:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Mercantile Cricket Association (MCA) President Ashley Ratnayake says they have plans to reach out to China on the cricket platform. He sees great opportunity for developing the sport in China; especially considering the interest they have shown in this largely British Commonwealth countries game in the last couple of years. Ratnayake believes that cricket could become a sporting tie between the two countries and go towards creating greater bonds outside the field of commerce. “Having said that we must not forget that we are the Mercantile Cricket Association, and our membership consists of firms attached to the Mercantile Sector in Sri Lanka. Our current membership which tops 190, includes all the top notch blue chip organisations such as JKH, Levers, Nestle, Singer, CTC, Janashakthi, Commercial Bank, Hatton National Bank and MAS to name a few. This would also present great opportunity for firms in Sri Lanka to reach out to Chinese companies.” As a first step in this direction, the MCA partnered China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) who was sponsor of the MCA Blue (Under -15) and SSC A (Under 13) cricket tournaments held from 15 to 24 August, with the finals concluding on 24 Sunday. The MCA President says that in the history of Sri Lankan Cricket this is the first time a Chinese company has sponsored a cricket tournament. “Cricket has already been started in China and Shanghai where there are four cricket clubs. The most important factor is that CMEC sponsored a children’s tournament, which goes hand in hand with what the Company is already doing in terms of children and their welfare. On the other hand these are our young cricketers of the future and we want to ensure that they learn the basics properly and learn to play it as a gentlemen’s game. In that sense the CMEC sponsorship looks very promising for the game locally as well as for China.” Speaking about the MCA, Ratnayake says that it is the oldest cricket association in the country, set up by the British. One of its aims is to keep the high standards of the game alive in the mercantile sector, which is encouraged to provide employment opportunities to youngsters who play good cricket. CMEC Commercial Manager Zhang Minxiang says that their decision to sponsor the tournament was dependent on several factors such as the MCA’s reputation as well as the special services they provide their protégées. He said: “We were impressed with the job opportunities the MCA provides to hundreds of school leaving cricketers annually and the fact that almost every national cricketer has represented the Association in their tournaments at some point in their career. They stage well planned and accepted tournaments, creating opportunities for talented budding cricketers to show their prowess even up to national selection levels. The training they provide for young cricketers through a certified coaching process attended by national cricketers is commendable and they have all the facilities such as track and field to provide proper training. Since we as an organisation are also interested in providing children with a better future, it is only natural that we wished to partner with one of the best cricket clubs in Sri Lanka to avail the finest opportunities to student cricketers, albeit in a country that has produced a national team who is creating waves on international playing fields.” According to a recent BBC report, cricket has now been included among optional sports for primary schools in China. The report says that the game could take different proportions in terms of interest in China, if it regains Olympic status, which it had over 100 years ago. With this being the case, Ratnayake’s plans to reach out to China do not seem at all futile. He says that Companies like CMEC stepping forward to sponsor the game would open doors to getting introductions to Chinese cricket clubs. “We can do reciprocal tours to China and vice versa. We are experts in the game and we can connect to the world through that expertise. Now there are the BRIC countries; India, China, Russia, South Africa and Brazil; of these South Africa and India are cricketing countries while others are not. Therefore reaching out to China to exchange sports would be an important move and we encourage other Chinese Companies in Sri Lanka to follow CMEC’s example in sponsoring the game locally. This will help us build synergies that will mutually benefit our two countries.”