Cash demands threaten Tuanku trophy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 September, 2005, 12:00am

Years of tradition lost out to cold cash when the Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy, which was due to start tomorrow in Hong Kong, was indefinitely postponed after Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia pulled out citing financial difficulties.

'They said they would not play unless they received a subsidy for their travel and accommodation. The future of this tournament is now questionable without funding of some sort,' said Glyn Davies, the chairman of the Hong Kong Cricket Association's international sub-committee.

The problem has cropped up as a result of the new ACC Fast Track Countries Tournament. In its bid to bring on this region's promising nations, the Asian Cricket Council picked five teams, including Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, for the annual three-day home or away tournament.

The cash-rich Asian governing body gave a subsidy of US$6,000 for the ACC tournament. Now teams like Singapore want a similar sort of sum to play in the four-team Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy, a one-day tournament played annually.

'Singapore raised the objections first and the rest followed. Since this is not an ACC tournament - but one played traditionally and going back over a 100 years as an interport competition - we won't get a subsidy from them.

'We had no option but to postpone the tournament. We will have to look at this tournament again and discuss its future,' said Davies.

The interport fixtures between Hong Kong and the rest stretch back down the years. In more recent times - in the 1990s - the then King of Malaysia gave a trophy in his name and it became known as the Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy. And even more recently, this trophy has been played for at age groups from under-13 to under-19.

At the senior level, the TJ Trophy might be a bit out-dated owing to the increased levels of competition (the ACC FTCT tournament and the subsequent Intercontinental Cup), but at the lower age groups, this is the only competition available on an international scale.

'We believe that Malaysia has put forward a proposal to Tuanku Imran (the son of Tuanku Ja'afar and a keen follower of cricket) for funding for this event. All parties have to sit down and discuss the way forward. But for now, this tournament has been postponed,' added Davies.

Hong Kong cricket has a new selection panel. While Mike Walsh retains his position as chairman, Mark Eames and Krish Kumar replace Jim Middleton and Yarman Vachha. The coach and the captain are also members of the panel.