TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The first-ever "Chillies Titans Cup 2018" cricket tournament was held in Hsinchu City (新竹市) on August 4-5, marking the resurgence of cricket in Taiwan.
Cricket is rapidly increasing in popularity across Taiwan, and forging deeper ties between expat communities and locals.
Cricket is a bat and ball game which is often described as similar to baseball, and has over 1 billion fans globally, according to the International Cricket Council. The game is popular throughout Australia, the Indian subcontinent, New Zealand, southern Africa, the U.K., and the West Indies.
Cricket is seeing a resurgence in popularity across Taiwan, after a lull in participation in recent years. The Hsinchu Titans Cricket Club is a leading organizer of the game in Taiwan, putting on both the "Pankaj Memorial Trophy 2018" in June and the "Chillies Titans Cup 2018" in August.
Vinay from the Hsinchu Titans Cricket Club said that the two tournaments will be played annually, and there may be additional tournaments organized "with the sole intention of promoting cricket in Taiwan and thus creating an opportunity for teams to play competitive tournament."
There are currently seven active teams in Taiwan, with at least two or three teams in the process of forming. Teams are currently active in Chaiyi, Hsinchu, Taichung, and Taipei.
The "Chillies Titans Cup 2018" played host to four teams from across Taiwan and saw the Hsinchu Titans Cricket Club undefeated, beating the Formosan Cricket Club by 54 runs in the final. The Taipei Cricket Association from Taipei, and the Pakistan Badshaws from Taichung rounded out the competition.
Hsinchu Titans with winner's trophy. (Image courtesy of Hsinchu Titans)
Hsinchu Titans batsman Rachit Agarwal was named the Player of the Tournament for superb efforts with the bat and ball.
The majority of the players come from India and Pakistan, and the teams also have players from South Africa and Sri Lanka. The players who are mostly engineers, teachers, researchers, students, or business owners, play cricket in Taiwan for fun, and for the passion of the game.
"The game of cricket has always been a tool for socializing and keeping the passion for the game alive in all the players making their living in Taiwan." said Vinay.
"It is absolutely social as the players, irrespective of their nationalities, get to know other players and there starts a friendship both on and off the field."
Vinay said there was some interest from Taiwanese people to play the game, and that they are often invited to practice by the players. "Since cricket is somewhat similar to baseball and Taiwanese love baseball, they understand a part of it" he said.
Vinay said that a challenge for the game in Taiwan is availability of playing space and high rental fees, which can make it difficult to organize, as well as unavailability of cricket gear.
He said that most of the gear is sourced by each player in their home country, and additional supplies are ordered as a group when a player travels to Hong Kong or India.
Cricket camps for school children were previously organized in Taiwan, and a push has begun to re-introduce the camps to grow the game in Taiwan.