ACA Masters vs World Defence XI
ACA Masters vs World Defence XI at Manuka Oval on Saturday 24 November 2012. Photo: Jay Cronan
MENTION gangnam style and Richard Chee Quee instantly captures the attention of budding young cricketers.
But instead of having them bound up and down replicating Korean pop star Psy's iconic dance move, the next challenge is keeping them as addicted to a game balancing a fine line between tradition and the future.
Chee Quee was in Canberra on Saturday as part of the Australian Cricket Association Masters team, which held a coaching clinic at Manuka Oval before taking on the World Defence Team in a Twenty20 match.
The former NSW batsman said the shortest form of the game was the ideal platform to bring in those unfamiliar with the game, before hopefully eventually converting them to Test cricket.
''With Twenty20 we are targeting a new audience,'' Chee Quee said. ''To get someone to a Test match who has never seen cricket is too hard.''
Chee Quee was the first player of Chinese origin to play first-class cricket in Australia.
However, since his final Sheffield Shield game in 1998, Asian players have barely made a dent in the national cricket ranks, with Pakistan-born Usman Khawaja the most recent to break into the Test team.
Indigenous players have also been poorly represented, former South Australian quick Jason Gillespie and all-rounder Dan Christian the only ones to have been chosen for their country.
''There are more and more multicultural kids playing cricket, so from that point it's terrific,'' Chee Quee said.
''If you go to the Imparja Cup, the talents that are playing there are extraordinary.
''I remember when I went to school I was the only Asian kid in my school, let alone class.
''At the end of the day a lot's been made of my heritage, and I'm proud of my heritage, but I feel Australian.''
Chee Quee and Khawaja played grade cricket with the Randwick club in Sydney.
Khawaja is the first Muslim to represent Australia, but he has been out of the Test team since last year.
The classy left-hander moved to Queensland in the off-season and will hope to continue his case for an international recall in the Sheffield Shield match with NSW at Manuka Oval, starting Tuesday.
''It's important for Uzzy to do well for Queensland and the rest will take care of itself,'' Chee Quee said.
''From an early stage I knew he was something special, but a lot of kids have special qualities but don't go on.
''It's great to see him play for Australia and I'm hoping he gets back in there.''
Chee Quee and the ACA Masters - featuring past greats Craig McDermott, Darren Lehmann and Greg Matthews - lost by seven wickets to an impressive World Defence Team.
The Masters made 107 from 20 overs, with the select team from the International Defence Cricket Championships chasing down the total with 21 balls to spare.