Are you in or out? Where to play cricket in Shanghai

Shanghai Cricket Club has been around for more than 150 years

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Along with fresh air, uncensored internet and organised queuing, cricket isn’t often something people associate with China. While the game is immensely popular in other parts of Asia and played by millions of people across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, to many here in the Middle Kingdom it is very much a foreign prospect.


Despite cricket not taking the Mainland by storm – China is merely an ICC affiliate whereas Hong Kong competes in the ICC World Cricket League for Associate Nations and recently hosted the Hong Kong T20 Blitz featuring international stars from Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand and more – believe it or not, there is a cricket club here in Shanghai that first put bat to ball more than 150 years ago.

What the hell is cricket and why should I care?

Cricket is an 11-a-side bat and ball game that originated in England. Sort of like baseball, but good. One of the world’s most popular sports, cricket is predominantly played in the UK, Australasia, southern Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. However, participation is ever increasing across the globe – particularly in Europe, the Middle East, North America, and here in China.


To quote a famous (if not convoluted) English explanation of cricket aimed at ignorant foreigners: ‘you have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that’s in the side that’s in goes out, and when he’s out he comes in and the next man goes in until he’s out. When they are all out, the side that’s out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.’ Simple, yeah? It’s fun, a great social game, and the only sport in the world where you get to stop in the middle of it for food.


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Shanghai Cricket Club representative XI (photo: shanghaicricket.com)

So what about cricket in Shanghai then…

Established in 1858, Shanghai Cricket Club (SCC) is the home of cricket in Shanghai. Following a 45-year hiatus after the formation of the People’s Republic of China (talk about a lengthy break between innings), SCC was re-formed in 1994 and has since grown to run a three-division competition.


Along with the sides competing in the league, the club also fields SCC representative XIs (both competitive and social) that annually play against the likes of Beijing and Kowloon, and in the past have notably hosted the world renowned Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) from England, as well as national women’s teams from Japan, Pakistan, Scotland and Singapore.


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Shanghai Community Sports Club


Like a lot of the sport in the city, all of Shanghai’s cricket takes place in Pudong. You might only venture east of the river when it’s absolutely necessary – for work, to take your parents to Lujiazui on The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel after they read about it on TripAdvisor, to make the pilgrimage to Disneyland. However, if cricket is your thing (or soon to be your thing) and you really want to play, you’re going to have to get acquainted with Line 6.


The majority of the matches are played at Shanghai Community Sports Club, which is accessible from Line 6’s Wuzhou Avenue metro station. Wellington College International Shanghai also hosts games and can be reached from the Oriental Sports Centre station on Lines 6, 8 and 11, as does Dulwich College Shanghai which, you guessed it, is on Line 6.

Who’s playing in the league?

The SCC League was formed in 2004 and currently consists of 18 teams competing across three divisions. The league’s founding clubs – Daredevils CC, DPR Hotdogs CC, Bashers CC and Pudong Power CC – have sides competing in all three divisions, with the Daredevils having two XIs in this year’s second division. The Daredevils are China’s first and only pan-national club, also fielding teams in Beijing, Guangzhou and Taiwan. As with most cricket clubs around the globe, there is a strong emphasis on the social side of the game, so if you join, expect the odd night out coupled with the occasional hangover.


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Shanghai CC vs Hong Kong CC (photo: shanghaicricket.com)

Got it. Where can I sign up?

This year the season started on March 12 (although early fixtures have been heavily affected by rain) and will run through October. If you are interested in getting involved, email info@shanghaicricket.com and you’ll be directed to a club that best suits your ability and your needs. The SCC League clubs usually practice on Saturdays in two-hour slots at Shanghai Community Sports Club with games mostly being played on Sundays.

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