Support for HK lobby against ICC rule change
By JEREMY WALKER
HONGKONG are well on their way to attracting enough support to fend off a proposed rule change which would wreck their preparations for the next International Cricket Council Trophy.
Kenya, who will stage the 1994 ICC Trophy for 20 of the world's B-ranked cricket-playing nations next February and March, want to increase the residency rule from four years to seven years.
But the Hongkong Cricket Association are leading the opposition to the proposal, which will be put to the vote at the July meeting of the ICC's 19 associate members at Lord's, London.
Hongkong began their lobbying in Bangkok over the weekend, when the territory beat Southeast Asian rivals Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to retain the Tuanku Ja'Afar Cup.
And association chairman Peter Slack will report to tonight's monthly meeting of the executive committee that Singapore and Malaysia will both support Hongkong in their fight to defeat the proposal.
''There was a strong feeling of the Southeast Asia teams sticking together as a combined force,'' said Slack.
''We had some very worthwhile discussions with officials from both Singapore and Malaysia and they will recommend that their respective associations vote against the proposal because they recognise what our problems would be.'' The present rule states that a player must have lived in the country he wishes to represent for at least eight months in each of the previous four years leading up to the tournament.
But with three qualifying places for the 1995 World Cup in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka up for grabs in Kenya, the host nation have proposed a seven-year rule to make it harder for countries to import overseas professionals.
The proposal needs a two-thirds majority to succeed, meaning Hongkong must gain seven of the 19 votes to defeat it.
When the issue was first raised at an ICC meeting in February, Israel, Holland and Canada were also against it.
''As long as those three feel the same way and we have the support of Malaysia and Singapore, then we are only one short of the seven votes needed,'' said association secretary John Cribbin.
''Thailand will not be able to vote because their application for associate membership will not come up until after the associate members' meeting.'' The next Tuanku Ja'Afar Cup, involving Hongkong, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, will be staged in Hongkong in November 1994, when a one-year residency rule will apply.
The residency rule for the next Southeast Asia Cup, which will include holders Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, will follow the ICC guidelines laid down this summer. Kuala Lumpur will host the event, in October 1995.