Anxious wait for Sharma over ICC Trophy eligibility
One of Hong Kong's leading all-rounders, Rahul Sharma, will have to wait until July before he finds out if he is eligible to represent the territory at next year's ICC Trophy in Malaysia.
Sharma is considered a 'borderline' case for selection for the March 30 to April 14 mini-World Cup tournament in Kuala Lumpur.
'I don't know what my chances are of playing,' Sharma said yesterday.
'I have given the local cricket authorities all [the information] they want concerning when I came to Hong Kong. I know they will try to clear my case with the ICC.' The former Ranji Trophy cricketer, who this season scored 1,074 runs and took 41 wickets in both the Sunday League and Cup action, said it would be 'touch and go' if he would satisfy the residency requirements.
He said: 'I have been in and out of Hong Kong since the '80s. I got married here in 1990 and my wife is a permanent resident. I started living here only since March 1993.' The Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) has written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) asking for clarification of the 'citizenship' clause in the new rules.
The ICC will consider the case in July, when the full council including all 22 associate members, meet for their annual meeting at Lord's.
The new rules state that a country can field only four players qualifying by residency, while the other seven players on the field must be citizens, or have been born in the country they wish to represent.
HKCA secretary, John Cribbin, said: 'We have written to the ICC seeking clarification.
'As far as the citizenship stipulation is concerned, we have informed the ICC that there are a number of players here who are eligible to be citizens of Hong Kong but are not so by law.
'We have also told the ICC that no one can apply to become a citizen now as the deadline has passed.' If the ICC was to give Hong Kong a dispensation in the citizenship clause, the territory would be able to field seven players drawn from the top ranks of local cricket.
Hong Kong - drawn in Group D to meet Bermuda, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Argentina - have avoided early confrontations with strong opponents like Kenya, Holland and the United Arab Emirates, who all qualified for this year's World Cup.