Cricket Hong Kong

Cricket's future needs more than just a new name

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 April, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 April, 1994, 12:00am

IT WOULD be a cliche if one were to say that Hong Kong cricket will turn a new page in its history on Tuesday.

This is the day when the Hong Kong Cricket Association (HKCA) will appoint John Terence Hung as their new president.

No doubt it will be a momentous moment. For you see, the new man - a Eurasian - is the first person with a Chinese name to be elevated to this position. Times have warranted this move, one which is made in the right direction.

But it is not enough for the HKCA to just appoint a man with a Chinese name to the post of presidency. They should also state a policy and lay down a guideline on how they will nurture their development programme.

A programme which will carry the entire future of Hong Kong cricket must have a brief. And it is important that people like Hung know, without any reasonable doubt, what this programme calls for.

For a starter, it would be nice if the HKCA came out and said that the annual Tuanku Ja'afar Cup, which will be hosted by Hong Kong in November, will be a platform to blood a 'homegrown' side.

It comes as no surprise that Hong Kong have dominated this tournament - contested also by Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. If Hong Kong field the same side as that for the ICC Trophy in Kenya, another hiding is on the cards for those countries.

It would be a hollow victory. Instead of fielding their top-level side, why not use this opportunity to field a side of players from the Hong Kong Dragons team and Hong Kong's homegrown players.

This would give the development programme a big boost. The Dragons are currently riding on a wave and are thinking about joining next season's Sunday League.

So why not give them an incentive? They are hungry, and this hunger must be fed, before people start losing interest.

If the Dragons know that the HKCA are really taking an interest, and rewarding them by asking them to represent Hong Kong at the Tuanku Ja'afar Cup, they will be fired up.

The HKCA should not despair if defeat is the outcome in November. One learns from losing.

For a team to mature, at least a three to five year time frame is needed. Without serious competition, the Dragons - and the development programme - will not grow.

While Hong Kong cricket should be grateful for all their expatriate cricketers, it is time for them to move aside and give the 'locals' a chance.

The HKCA would be wise to take a leaf from their rugby counterparts. While the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union use a wholly expatriate side for serious competition, like this October's Asian Rugby Football Tournament (comparable to the ICC Trophy), they also provide their development programme side (also known as the Hong Kong Dragons) opportunities every year to play against Singapore and Malaysia.

So, wouldn't it be nice if Hong Kong cricket was really turning a new leaf on Tuesday?