Everything began when the fan dove into YouTube’s gold mine of cricket footage and became instantly enamoured with the artistry of his favourite cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and Mandhana.
The vice-captain of the Indian women’s team would have been delighted when she spotted a poster with the caption “Mandhana The Goddess” being proudly held aloft by a Chinese young guy. Smriti Mandhana has her fair share of fans. Then again, Jun Yu enjoys the sound of the wood hitting the leather, making him perhaps an uncommon species in the Mandarin nation. And his passion for cricket drove him to fly 1200 kilometres from Beijing to Hangzhou to see her “Goddess” in action.
And it all began when he dove into the gold mine of cricket footage on YouTube and became instantly enamoured with the artistry of his three favourite players: Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, and Pragyan Ojha.
“I watched Jasprit Bumrah’s World Cup 2019 pitch versus Australia. I support both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. They are the game’s all-time greats right now. Suryakumar Yadav and Jaspreet Bumrah are the next two. In the 2019 World Cup match against Australia, Bumrah was outstanding, Yu said when PTI met up with him following the gold-medal game.
How did he discover cricket, then? “My Beijing university offers cricket lessons. I therefore have some knowledge of it, Yu remarked.
In fact, Yu provided some fascinating knowledge regarding the cricket stadium for the Games, which was previously a flower garden.
Yu was among the diverse audience that gathered at the Pingfeng cricket pitch on the campus of Zhejiang University of Technology. The stadium is not designed for cricket.
“I don’t play cricket even though I would like to.” There is also no suitable ground. Even before the Asian Games, this site was a flower field. For the Asian Games, it was transformed into a cricket pitch. “We had a few warm-up games here before the Asian Games,” he explained.
Yu’s favourite cricketer, despite his reversal of Tendulkar, is a New Zealander. “My favourite is Kane Williamson, but Sachin Tendulkar is a legend of the game,” Yu, a Masters Zoology student at a Bejing university, remarked.
“I came here from Beijing for 1000 Yuan (INR 11,400).” I have studies, thus I won’t be able to attend the men’s competition. “I’ll be back in Beijing on Tuesday,” he stated.
A few Indians were also present, waving the national flag and cheering on the Indian athletes.
Navneet Singh, who is from Delhi but now lives on the outskirts of Hangzhou, had come with his pals to watch a cricket match for the first time in China.
“I’ve been here for a year and a half, doing fabric business.” This is the first time we’ve seen a cricket match in China. Cricket is not played in China, but we saw it on Indian stations.”
“We have a club called Hangzhou Cricket Club.” We practise every Sunday and compete in events in both Hangzhou and Shanghai.” Manoj, a textile exporter from Mumbai, has been here with his family since 2003.
“Chinese people don’t typically play cricket, but after the Asian Games, some of them might start. Indians in this area participate in clubs and occasionally inter-city competitions. In Shanghai, there is always a competition. The COVID-19 epidemic caused it to be discontinued, and it has not yet resumed. The only stadium in Hangzhou, according to him, that is dedicated to cricket is this one.
“To play, we must travel to Shaoxing, which is 70 miles away. But there is a football stadium there as well.