We need Ahmeds in Kuwait: captain
The importance of Nadeem and Irfan Ahmed to Hong Kong's hopes at the inaugural ACC Twenty20 Cup in Kuwait next month will be the main bone of contention among top officials within the Hong Kong Cricket Association when they consider an appeal to shorten the ban on the talented brothers.
The teenage Ahmed brothers were disciplined for ill-conduct during the recent ACC under-19 tournament in Kuala Lumpur, and have been handed stringent bans which will see them miss all forms of cricket for the next couple of months.
Their club Little Sai Wan has now appealed to the HKCA executive committee for the ban to be reduced, especially to see that they are available for selection to the Hong Kong team bound for the October 27 to November 2 tournament in Kuwait.
'While we have no objection to them being disciplined, we have appealed on the grounds that their sentence should not have been time-based, but rather a fixed number of matches,' said LSW captain Tabarak Dar .
Dar, who will also captain the Hong Kong Twenty20 side, added: 'The current ban will mean Irfan will miss around 20 games while Nadeem will miss 25. We believe this is too harsh. They are both aware they have done wrong and are very sorry. But to ban them for so long will have a bad effect, not only on them, but also on Hong Kong.'
This latter issue will be the centre of debate when the HKCA executive committee meets to decide what course of action to take on the appeal. They know how crucial left-arm spinner Nadeem and medium-pace bowler Irfan are to the side, and especially since both are handy batsmen.
'They are both leading all-rounders in the Hong Kong team. Apart from their batting and bowling, they are very good fielders too. We need players like this in the Twenty20 format. I hope their appeal will be successful,' said Dar.
Hong Kong need a good performance in Kuwait to ensure a spot in the qualifying tournament for the 2009 Asian Games in Guangzhou, when cricket makes its debut.'We need to do well in Kuwait next month to boost our ranking. We will need our strongest team and I hope both Nadeem and Irfan are available for selection,' Dar added.