Hong Kong casts net wider
The Hong Kong Cricket Association is set to cast their selection net a little wider as they look for players and more with links to Hong Kong in trials in the UK in August.
In a statement on their website they said, "As we are currently working on our development programmes towards the next Cricket World Cup – we would love to include more passionate cricket people who were born right here in Hong Kong. So if you are a passionate cricketer and were born in Hong Kong and/or hold an SAR passport we may have some exciting opportunities available in; International Cricket, Coaching development, Umpires & Cricket Administration".
The trials for players will be held in Canterbury, Kent on the 23rd and 24th of August and will also include some current Hong Kong players who have been based in England this year, such as Anshuman Rath who has been playing for Middlesex Second XI, helping them towards the Second XI Twenty20 Championship last month.
Speaking to CricketEurope, HKCA CEO Tim Cutler said, "One of the biggest issues for a place like Hong Kong is keeping track of cricketers that have may spent their formative years here but left for study overseas or for other reasons.
"Whilst it is something we definitely have paid a lot more attention to in recent times, we have initiated this promotion to cast the net wider to see if we can reconnect with these players to see if they can re join the Hong Kong cricket family. Our home is a very transient place - people are always coming and going - so we need to do things a little differently to stay ahead of the game!"
The most notable Hong Kong born player in England not already playing for Hong Kong would be Warwickshire's Sam Hain, who represented Australia in the 2012 Under-19 World Cup and will therefore be eligible for Hong Kong from next month.
However Hain has indicated a desire to play for England, and playing for Hong Kong would make him ineligible for England, so he is unlikely to be taking the HKCA up on that offer.
A wave of immigration to the UK from Hong Kong prior to the handover to China may also mean that there are some Hong Kong born players at lower levels who came to the UK as children and would now be in their early to mid twenties and possibly wishing to try out for their place of birth.
Whilst Hong Kong are likely to face criticism for this policy from some quarters, the cut-throat nature of associate cricket at the top levels means that all teams need to pick the best players eligible for their national sides in order to keep the extra funding and extra opportunities that come with playing at higher levels.
Hong Kong will be in the UK in late August/early September for an Intercontinental Cup match and two T20Is against Ireland as well as two ODIs against Scotland. After that they will play host to Papua New Guinea for a three match ODI series and play Kenya in two WCLC matches at a venue to be announced in November.