Twenty20 team put faith in bowlers for Asia mission

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's bowlers will hold the key at this month's Asian Cricket Council Twenty20 tournament in Kuwait, says captain Tabarak Dar.

'We have a number of big-hitters. A lot are capable of hitting the ball a long way, but I believe our strength will be in our bowling. This is going to be crucial to our hopes of doing well in Kuwait,' Dar said yesterday.

Dar, who will have Courtney Kruger as his deputy, will lead a 14-strong squad for the inaugural 10-team tournament in Kuwait City from October 27 to November 2.

Hong Kong are grouped with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and hosts Kuwait. The other pool comprises Afghanistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Oman and Qatar.

Three new faces in the squad are all-rounders Tiku Patidar (Optimists) and Rafaqat Ali (Pakistan Association), and left-arm spinner Ayub Khan (Millennium). Sher Lama has been recalled, with Ilyas Gull and Nasir Hameed.

'A number of our youngsters were unavailable due to studies, while the Ahmed brothers [Nadeem and Irfan] were not available for selection as they have been banned,' said Krish Kumar, chairman of selectors.

The under-19 brigade of Jamie Atkinson, and the Bacon brothers - Robert and John - could not take time off their studies.

Nadeem and Irfan Ahmed have been banned from international duty until the end of next month due to conduct their at the recent ACC Under-19 Trophy in Kuala Lumpur.

'We have a lot of experience in the side. I think this format should suit us. All our guys love to play the big shots. But winning will depend on our bowling and our fielding,' Dar said

'This is high-intensity cricket and hopefully we will be able to cope with that.'

Veteran campaigner Afzaal Haider will spearhead the bowling attack and Dar can rely on Hussain Butt, Najeeb Amar and Zain Abbas to provide support in trying to restrict runs.

'Hong Kong have played only one Twenty20 game so far - against the visiting MCC last year. We don't have much experience at this format, but we hope to get in a couple of practice games before the tournament begins,' said Dar.

The team will leave for the tournament on October 22, and the Hong Kong Cricket Association remains hopeful a new coach will accompany the team. It is understood final interviews to pick the successor to Robin Singh have been completed.