Habib seeks access to play on grass pitches

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 November, 2007, 12:00am

New Hong Kong coach Aftab Habib will return tomorrow from a disappointing campaign at the ACC Twenty20 championship in Kuwait intent on brokering a deal between his employer - the Hong Kong Cricket Association - and the two clubs who have grass pitches in a bid to prevent another debacle occurring in the future.

'We all know the main problem Hong Kong cricket faces is our batsmen's inability to play on turf wickets. There are two clubs in Hong Kong that have turf wickets, and I want to be able to train regularly with the national squad on these pitches,' Habib said. 'I want to speak to the association as well as the two clubs, to try and work out a deal.'

Easier said than done for both the Kowloon Cricket Club and the Hong Kong Cricket Club are private clubs. But Habib is hopeful everyone will pull together for the good of the local game.

Hong Kong played four matches in Kuwait, winning one and losing three.

'Our batsmen couldn't adapt to the situations they were faced with. The biggest drawback was our inability to play spin. Back home, they are used to playing on flat artificial tracks where they hit through the line of the ball. But in Kuwait they fell short on the grass tracks,' Habib said.

Hong Kong met hosts Kuwait in their final match on Wednesday needing a comprehensive win to keep alive their chances of reaching the semi-finals. Hopes were rekindled when Hussain Butt grabbed four wickets as Kuwait were bowled out for 125.

Needing to better their run-rate, Hong Kong had to get these runs in 15 overs or less. But once again the batting crumbled as they were bowled out for 103 in 17.3 overs. Skipper Tabarak Dar top-scored with 26.

Hong Kong was made to rue their one-run loss to Singapore earlier in the competition. They also lost to the United Arab Emirates by 20 runs. The sole win was a 17-run victory against Saudi Arabia.

The UAE and Kuwait advanced to the semi-finals. Afghanistan and Oman won through from the other pool.