HKCA leadership pair to quit
The Hong Kong Sixes faces a possible leadership vacuum with the top two officials at the Hong Kong Cricket Association, president Shahzada Saleem and chairman Dinesh Tandon, stepping down at the end of this month. But both insisted yesterday the future of the popular tournament was secure and its continued success was guaranteed.
'We have ensured there will be a smooth transition, with our successors already in place to carry on the work of making the Hong Kong Sixes a success. I don't think our departure will cause any waves or problems,' Saleem said.
Kowloon Cricket Club stalwart Burji Shroff is expected to succeed Saleem as president, while umpire Anoop Gidwani is in line to fill Tandon's role as chairman. It is believed both will stand uncontested. 'While it might not be ideal that both of us step down at the same time, there will be continuity,' Tandon said. 'There are many other people who have been involved with the Hong Kong Sixes in the past and they will be around.'
Saleem and Tandon cited increasing work commitments for stepping down. Both have been at the helm for the past three years and will relinquish their positions at the annual general meeting on June 2.
With the HKCA still looking for a replacement for general manager Danny Lai, who has also stated his intention to move on, the control of the game will be in different hands soon.
'There have been concerns raised about whether it is wise that both Dinesh and I should step down at the same time,' Saleem said. 'Only time will tell, but I'm confident the people who will take over have got the best interests of the game at heart.'
Saleem and Tandon came on board in contentious circumstances in 2009 with the HKCA in turmoil in the build-up to the AGM. Both top positions were being contested for the first time with Pakistan Association's Saleem running against then incumbent president Terry Smith, while Little Sai Wan's Sohail Murshed was bidding for the chairman's post held by Darren Tucker.
The battle grew heated as supporters of both sides, the independents (Sai Wan and Pakistan Association) and Hong Kong Cricket Club, wooing new voting members so they could vote at the AGM for their favourites. But on the eve of the elections, the 421 new members were informed they were not eligible to vote under a long-hidden clause in the constitution.
The AGM ultimately was a damp squib with both the incumbents withdrawing, opening the door for Saleem and Tandon, an unexpected and last-minute entry, to fill the top two roles.
'It has been an eventful and satisfying three years. Hong Kong cricket has come a long way. We are now ranked 20th in the world in the one-day game, we get an annual grant from the ICC, and we successfully staged the ICC annual conference last year,' Saleem said.
'I think the time is right for me to leave now. One must never overstay your welcome,' he joked. 'But although I will be travelling a lot, I will still be available if anybody needs me.'
The first challenge facing the new leadership will be the successful staging of the Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes scheduled for October 27-28.