HK squad to make space for youthful rising stars
A number of players from the squad are expected to make way as the focus shifts to the shortest form of the international game, with Hong Kong bidding to qualify for next year's ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.
Head coach Charlie Burke said he would ring in the changes as Hong Kong faced the first obstacle in qualifying for Colombo - finishing in the top three at the ACC Twenty20 tournament in Kathmandu, Nepal in December.
'There are some exciting players who will soon become eligible and we should start rewarding the younger players in the league,' Burke said.
Three players who will fall inside the ICC's four-year residency rule by the time the Twenty20 arrives are Tanvir Afzaal, Mark Wright and Babar Hayat.
The ICC has expanded the World Twenty20 to 16 teams and this is Hong Kong's best chance of playing in the big league. To do that, they have to go through regional and world qualifiers. The first is the 10-team ACC Twenty20, which includes Afghanistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Bhutan, Maldives and Saudi Arabia. The top three teams will represent Asia in a 16-team world qualifier to be held next February in Dubai.
The 16 teams in the world qualifier will include the top six associate sides in the ICC World Cricket League Division One - plus three from Asia, two each from Europe, Africa and the Americas, and one team from East Asia-Pacific.
Six teams from these world qualifiers will join the 10 test-playing nations at the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in the summer of 2012.
'We have a clear goal as far as Twenty20 is concerned. But this does not mean we will ignore the 50-overs version. In May-June, we will have a local league for our top players focusing on both versions of the game. The selectors will pick a national squad after this competition,' Burke said.