Smart in favour of bold approach

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 September, 2005, 12:00am

Hong Kong captain Tim Smart has called for the selectors to blood youngsters during the Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy one-day tournament, which the SAR will host from September 28 to October 2.

Still smarting from a three-wicket loss to Malaysia in the three-day ACC Fast Track Countries Tournament in Kuala Lumpur last week, Smart believes the time is ripe to try out a few of the younger players knocking on the door.

'The Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy will be the perfect opportunity to give the younger guys a go,' Smart said. 'It is a decision for the selectors and it is likely that they will pick a few to give them some exposure.'

Hong Kong's hopes of qualifying for the ICC Intercontinental Cup next year were blown away by Malaysia. Hong Kong batting first made 239. They then bowled out Malaysia for 223. Needing to post an outright victory, the SAR declared their second innings at 210 for seven, leaving Malaysia needing 227 for victory. This they achieved for the loss of seven wickets.

'We dropped six catches,' said Smart. 'It was a very disappointing performance. We didn't play to our potential. We are now out of the Intercontinental Cup but we must still look ahead.'

The next major tournament will be the ACC Trophy next year - a one-day tournament from which the finalists qualify for the Asia Cup against the test-playing nations.

But for now, Hong Kong can only reflect on a disappointing FTCT campaign where they lost two matches - to the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia - and drew with Nepal. Hong Kong have one more match to play in this tournament, against Singapore, which should have little bearing on the overall outcome.

From having made it to the final last year, Hong Kong now trail at the bottom of the five-team tournament which is being used by the ICC as a development tool to bring on associate member nations.

The fact that all of Hong Kong's matches have been played away this season - and will continue to do so in the future until a bigger ground is found locally - might have been a factor in the decline in Hong Kong's fortunes simply because of player unavailability and a struggle to come to terms with unfamiliar conditions.