ICC visit may pave way for HK to host international event

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, 12:00am

Two top officials from the world governing body will arrive on Sunday to look at the feasibility of Hong Kong hosting the ICC World Cricket League Division Three tournament in January.

Matthew Kennedy, the International Cricket Council's global development manager, and Tim Anderson, development programmes manager, will inspect the venues and facilities at Mission Road, Kowloon Cricket Club and Hong Kong Cricket Club.

'They will be looking at our facilities and we hope they are suitably impressed,' Hong Kong Cricket Association general manager Danny Lai said. 'They are on their way to Guangzhou to inspect the Asian Games stadium and will be stopping over.'

The HKCA is hoping the ICC gives the green light to host the Division Three tournament, which will feature six teams - Denmark, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, the United States and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was barred from hosting any international games in 2005 after the ICC declared the grounds were too small.

The Mission Road ground has been marginally increased in size, but the grounds at the two established cricket clubs, HKCC and KCC, remain the same.

The international Hong Kong Sixes are held every year at the KCC.

'Nothing much has changed since the ban. We still haven't got any new grounds of international standard,' Lai said. 'But the key factor is that if the Division Three tournament is held here, it will be the same for all the teams.

'There won't be any advantage or disadvatages for any side as they will all be playing on the same grounds.'

The ICC World Cricket League is a structure of tournaments that serves as qualifiers for the World Cup. If Hong Kong finish in the top two, they will be promoted to Division Two, where they will join the United Arab Emirates, Bermuda, Namibia and Uganda.

Meanwhile, the China men's national team will take part in the annual Quaid-e-Azam Twenty20 Trophy, which gets under way on Friday at Mission Road. Organised by the Pakistan consulate, the tournament will feature six teams and offer HK$50,000 in prize money.

Pool A will comprise Sunday league champions the Pakistan Association, Little Sai Wan and Vagabonds. The other pool includes KCC, HKCC and China. The top two teams after a round robin will advance to the semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final on Sunday.