HKCA puts faith in Burke with new contract
Charlie Burke has the luxury of looking ahead to the 2015 World Cup after the Hong Kong Cricket Association decided to extend his tenure as national coach by a further three years.
'I'm really happy as it now gives me the chance to look at the bigger picture which is qualifying for the 2015 World Cup,' said a delighted Burke (pictured), whose original deal was to end by the middle of next year.
'I'm glad the HKCA has backed me to be the man to take this side to the World Cup qualifiers.'
That will be in 2013 when Hong Kong battle it out with the other associate countries for one of four berths at the next 50-overs World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It gives Burke enough time to mould a young squad over the next year or so, and it starts in Nepal at the ACC Twenty20.
Hong Kong's aim in Kathmandu will be to finish in the top four at the 10-team tournament as that will virtually ensure a berth in the world qualifiers for the ICC World Twenty20 next summer. Afghanistan are already assured of a berth in the world qualifiers, leaving three spots open to the rest of Asia.
Hong Kong are with Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in pool B. The other pool comprises Afghanistan, Malaysia, Oman, Bhutan and the Maldives.
'It is unfortunate that three of the top four ACC teams - UAE, Hong Kong and Nepal - are in one pool,' said Burke. 'But in the end, we need to be at our best either way to ensure we finish in the last four and book our berth to Dubai next March for the world qualifiers.'
'I have got the opportunity to groom these guys over the next three or four years leading up to the 2015 World Cup and that is the big goal. We will have moments when our backs are against the wall, and that is guaranteed with a young side, but the important thing is how we bounce back.'
Hong Kong have found that knack to bounce back under Burke, as they did when they somehow managed to remain in the ICC World Cricket League Division Two despite winning only one of five games in Dubai earlier this year. That was enough for the HKCA to keep faith with Burke - now he knows he has to deliver.