HK's Intercontinental Cup hopes are dashed by ICC
Hong Kong's hopes of playing in the 2011-13 ICC Intercontinental Cup were dashed after Namibia and the United Arab Emirates were picked to join the six teams in the ICC World Cricket League Division One for the first-class competition.
Hong Kong finished fourth in Division Two in Dubai last month and had hoped the ICC's development committee might consider them because the side was young.
'It is disappointing as we thought the ICC would have a bit more vision and look at giving young sides like us and Papua New Guinea [who finished third] a chance,' said Hong Kong head coach Charlie Burke.
'But they have instead gone for the top two teams in division two, two sides who have played before in the Intercontinental Cup but have not made much progress. And both these teams are ageing and comprise mostly older players,' Burke said.
Hong Kong officials had hoped the ICC would also take into account the offer to play home games at the Guangzhou Asian Games Stadium, and thus help raise the profile of the game in the mainland.
Since its inception seven years ago, the Intercontinental Cup has grown in stature and offers associate members the opportunity to play the longer version - four-day matches - of the game.
Namibia and UAE will now join defending champions Afghanistan, Canada, Ireland, Kenya and the Netherlands when the tournament begins next month.
The eight teams will figure in a home-or-away series which will last 28 months. Prize money of US$254,000 is up for grabs.
'It is sad we have missed out, but this gives us a solid two years to plan and be there the next time,' Burke said.
A previously held ICC Intercontinental Shield competition for teams not in the top bracket has been discontinued.