Stumped, as more than wickets lost
By ALVIN SALLAY
'IT'S not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game,' said the poet.
The last few days has showed that the cricketing establishment in Hong Kong played the game badly.
It is incidental that the territory lost the Tuanku Ja'afar Cup, which had been in their possession for the past three years.
Teams can pick themselves up from defeat - and I'm sure Hong Kong can rebound from their loss to Singapore - but what cannot be done is to regain the opportunity which Hong Kong cricket lost to promote the game amongst the local community.
This opportunity was plain for everyone to see.
That is, for those who had the interest of developing the game in their hearts.
Unfortunately they are a powerless minority.
Instead the purblind powers-that-be, failed to see the opportunity of fielding a fully local side in the Tuanku Ja'afar Cup. A side comprising half local-born cricketers or those who learned their game here, and the other half comprising of the Chinese Dragons.
This was an idea mooted some time ago - a compromise to make the side competitive and still cater to the development of the game.
It was quickly shot down.
The benefits of fielding such a side would have been immense.
For instance, the Hong Kong Cricket Association could have used such a side to spark interest amongst the Chinese media.
They could have boasted of their intentions of pushing the game to the Chinese.
The Chinese media, who must be wooed if talk about developing the game here is serious, were not in sight.
No bets taken that not a word of this tournament would have appeared in the Chinese press.
Last week Hong Kong cricket had the chance of bringing the game into the limelight that matters. They did not take it.
It seems that there are a lot of people around who are just paying lip-service to the ideas of developing the game amongst the Chinese.
How can you otherwise explain why the three Chinese players - Eddie Tse, Maurice Ling and Tony Correa - featured in only one of the four games Hong Kong played? True, Tse was injured and was out of contention for the rest of the tournament.
Correa and Ling were unavailable for the Thailand match, although Ling played in a schools tournament on the same day. But just one game out of four? It should have been a fait accompli that these three players would play in most of the games.
In hindsight, even though they showed they are capable of holding their own at this level of cricket, it looks as if their confidence has not been nurtured at all.
No one denies the fact that they are second best when compared against the Brews and the Sharmas.
But to pick them for the Hong Kong team and then ignore them does not do anyone any good.
The whole idea of this tournament should have been to give the Chinese cricketers the opportunity to gain experience at this level of cricket and to flaunt to the whole world (at least the Chinese community) that cricket is being played by Chinese.
Instead the cricketing establishment walked to the crease at the Tuanku Ja'afar Cup with their boot laces tied together.
No wonder they stumbled. And ironically, they had to eat humble pie too.
The Gods must be holding their sides and howling in the dressing room up above.