Thailand pull out of Tuanka Ja'afar

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 November, 1998, 12:00am

Thailand have dropped a bombshell on local organisers of the Tuanka Ja'afar Trophy by withdrawing from next month's event.

The Thais pulled out of the four-nation event after deciding they would not be able to afford the trip to Hong Kong for this year's tournament, which takes place from December 3-6 and is being held in Hong Kong for the first time.

Thailand's place in the competition will be taken by a Hong Kong Cricket Association Chairman's XI.

Mark Burns, operations manager of the Hong Kong Cricket Association, said local officials had considered holding a three-team tournament after Thailand withdrew.

'We thought about having just Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, but there was a feeling that this would be a good opportunity for some of our best players who are on the fringes of the Hong Kong squad to play in a strong competition. That's why we're playing the Chairman's XI,' Burns said.

The Chairman's XI side will not be able to earn points in the tournament, however, with only Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore having a chance of reaching the Kowloon Cricket Club final on December 6.

Squads for the tournament will not be confirmed until next week, Burns said.

'[Selections will be made] probably towards the end of the week, or maybe after the following weekend's play. The selectors will want to have a good look at the options,' he added.

Next month's tournament represents an early opportunity for Hong Kong to score revenge over Malaysia following their embarrassing collapse in the Asian Cricket Council Trophy semi-finals last month in Kathmandu, Nepal.