KCC shuts out Sunday League final
A dispute over Pakistan Association's right to play in the final of the Sunday League led to the Kowloon Cricket Club closing its doors to the showpiece yesterday.
Pakistan Association were due to meet Little Sai Wan in the final at KCC, but the match was called off after teams were told that the ground would not be made available.
It follows a controversial end to last Sunday's semi-final between KCC Infidels and Pakistan Association. KCC were unhappy over a decision by the Hong Kong Cricket Association's match disciplinary committee (MDC), which ruled that although their opponents had fielded an ineligible player, the result - a 66-run win by Pakistan Association - should stand.
'I think they [KCC] are angry that the Hong Kong Cricket Association didn't find in their favour and disqualify us from the final,' Pakistan Association's general secretary Alex Mohammad said. 'What KCC has done is not in the spirit of the game.'
But KCC captain of cricket Simon Scanlon hit back, saying the HKCA should have penalised Pakistan Association with a forfeit as they had gone against the rules of 'world cricket'.
Scanlon said: 'It is very simple. They fielded an ineligible player and the rules around the world say if a team field such a player, they should forfeit the match. Everyone, the HKCA as well as its MDC, agreed that Pakistan Association had done wrong, then why wasn't the result revoked?'
Right-arm fast bowler Adil Mehmood was at the centre of the controversy. Mehmood hadn't played all season due to studies, but with his exams over made himself available for selection. But he was ineligible.
'We were at fault,' Pakistan Association skipper Hussain Butt admitted. 'For the semi-finals and final, teams can only field a player who has played at least two games during the season, or else they need to show proof as to why he couldn't play and get the approval from the MDC which we forgot to do.
'We didn't realise we needed approval as Adil has been with the club for the past five years. It wasn't as if we were flying in an exceptional player from overseas for the tail-end of the season - the reason why this rule is in place - but, yes, it was my mistake that we didn't get permission to play him,' Butt added.
While agreeing that Mehmood was not entitled to play, the MDC decided the result would stand but penalised Butt, who was told he could not lead the team in the final.
KCC officials appealed to the HKCA's executive committee to overturn the decision. Committee members were given three options: (a) stick with the original ruling; (b) replay the semi-final; (c) declare the match in KCC's favour.
These three options received five, four and two votes respectively, and it was decided the final should go ahead - but KCC had closed the ground.
'Six members of the executive committee went against the original MDC decision and this in our eyes is a majority,' Scanlon said. 'We didn't enjoy taking this decision but we had to take a stand.'