The Hong Kong Cricket Association will host the International Cricket Council annual conference in the last week of June, a significant coup for the city.
The meeting of the movers and shakers in world cricket was traditionally held in London and then in Dubai when the council shifted its headquarters there a few years ago. Last year it was held in Singapore, but this year the five-day conference will be held in Hong Kong.
'It's a massive boost for us and will raise the profile of Hong Kong cricket even more,' said Dinesh Tandon, association chairman. 'This will give us face time and the chance to rub shoulders with the most powerful men in the world game.'
The association, led by its president Shahzada Saleem, and Tandon, lobbied council chief executive Haroon Lorgat to bring the conference to Hong Kong when he was in town for the council's World Cricket League Division Three tournament last month, which was won by the hosts.
'We have received verbal acknowledgment that the conference will be held here. Now the hard work begins. We need support from the government and its agencies, especially the Hong Kong Tourism Board, to make this event an outstanding success,' Tandon said.
The council had been looking at a venue on the mainland but has now plumped for Hong Kong.
The five-day conference, which will be held from June 26-30 at a yet to be decided venue, will host the full 105-strong membership of the council, including the 10 full test members, the 35 associates of which Hong Kong is one, and 60 affiliate members. If each country is represented by two people, more than 200 people will attend.
'We are awaiting details from the ICC on their requirements. But we know we will have to cater widely, for apart from the annual general meeting, there will be various meetings of other committees and subcommittees of the ICC,' Tandon said.
The biggest benefit of the conference is the opening of doors for hosts Hong Kong. Meeting such powerful personalities like council president Sharad Pawar, formerly chairman of the influential Board of Control for Cricket in India, and the heads of all the test-playing nations in Hong Kong is a rare opportunity.
The association is likely to use this occasion to promote its own interests including the popular Hong Kong Sixes. Sanctioned by the council, the tournament is officially recognised by all test-playing boards who send representative teams. This will be the chance to press countries to send some of their name players.
'Yes, with the cricketing world in Hong Kong, this will give us the chance to build relationships with some of the most powerful men in the game,' Tandon said.