Well-travelled US ready for challenge in HK

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 January, 2011, 12:00am

They haven't had much match practice, but the United States travel well, if their last two outings are any indication.

It all points to hosts Hong Kong having a tough opener when the ICC World Cricket Division Three tournament gets under way on Saturday.

'We can take heart from the last two tournaments we played in, winning both. We haven't played much lately due to it being winter back home, but we are quietly confident of doing well here,' said Imran Khan, manager of the US team.

Hong Kong take on the US at the Kowloon Cricket Club in one of three games on the first day of the six-nation competition. It will be a key game for both sides as an early victory will give impetus to the winning team in the round-robin competition.

Khan is upbeat on his side's chances after winning the Division Four tournament last August in Italy - defeating the hosts, who are also here - followed by victory in a regional Twenty20 competition also featuring Canada and Bermuda.

'Winning this event will be a huge boost for the game in the United States. I cannot overstate the magnitude of winning here,' Khan said. 'Not only will we be promoted into Division Two, but it will mean more funding from the ICC and the chance for these players to travel and play more cricket.'

The top two teams in this competition will advance into the Division Two tournament to be held in Dubai in the summer.

The US squad is wholly made up of expatriates from India, Pakistan and the Caribbean who have made America their home.

'Cricket is a minority sport back home although the first recorded international game between the US and Canada was played more than a 100 years ago,' Khan said. 'We have a lot of history and tradition but baseball has taken over.

'I guess with time being at such a premium these days, cricket is seen as a long and laborious game. Also the attention span of most Americans is quite short,' Khan added.

Hong Kong will be hoping that will be the case when they face captain Steve Massiah and his men on Saturday. The US played a practice match against a Hong Kong XI on Monday and won by eight runs.