Japan Cricket Association takes ambitious steps to grow the game
Japan Times -- Jan 31
Three years ago, Japan didn’t have an active Under-19 cricket team. Today, however, Japan is one of 16 teams taking part in the ongoing Under-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

It was poised to be a de facto final at the East Asia Pacific Under-19 qualifiers. The winner would go through to the World Cup, while the loser would be confined to heartbreak and regrets.

On the morning of June 8, 2019, however, Japan woke up to the news that Papua New Guinea had suspended 11 members of its squad for shoplifting. Unable to field a team, Papua New Guinea was forced to forfeit the game, sending Japan through to its first-ever global cricket tournament.

During the first week of the World Cup, Japan suffered a 10-wicket defeat to cricketing heavyweight India and a pair of nine-wicket losses to Sri Lanka and England.

Despite these results, Japan’s mere presence in South Africa is a testament to the efforts of the Japan Cricket Association to grow the game at the grass roots and school level.

Japan’s cricketing origins actually stretch back to 1863, when the Royal Navy had been sent to Yokohama to protect British traders from hostile Japanese samurai. Despite fearing for their safety, the merchants sensed this was an ideal time to get together and play the Navy in a friendly game of cricket.

As things stand, there is every chance Japan will finish in 16th position at the ongoing World Cup. However, whether it’s the youth team or either of the senior outfits, the future of Japanese cricket appears to be in safe hands.

News source: Japan Times
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