Irfan Ahmed returns to the Hong Kong squad for Karp Group Sixes
Irfan Ahmed has won his place back in the squad for the Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes and will be hoping to prove a point as the hosts go in hunt of an elusive Cup title at Kowloon Cricket Club next weekend.
Irfan, 22, was dropped last year for disciplinary reasons. The hard-hitting batsman found out that even his explosive skills had little currency with the selectors, who were quick to wield the axe after Irfan missed a number of practice sessions. Irfan was singled out as perhaps the most dangerous player by Hong Kong coach Charlie Burke, who will be hoping the Pakistan Association firebrand can light up the home team's campaign in the same way he did in 2009 when Hong Kong reached the Cup final.
"Irfan has more potential than any cricketer I have seen in my life and that includes professionals who are paid millions every year and who we see on television. I rate him very highly," said Burke.
"Irfan has come a long way and is fitter now and is hitting the ball better than ever. With others like Jamie [Atkinson] who is just having an amazing 12 months, I'm optimistic we will do very well."
The Atkinson-led team will be hoping to make up for their disappointing performances at the ACC Elite Trophy (50 overs) in Dubai where they finished fifth.
The rest of the side are bristling with powerful batsmen, including teenager Babar Hayat, who caught the eye with several good innings last year, veteran Munir Dar and Tanvir Afzal. Nizakat Khan and Aizaz Khan make up the rest of the squad.
"We will back ourselves," Burke said. "But we are in a tough pool facing teams who have won this event in the recent past. But this event is all about momentum and it is crucial that we win our first pool game against Australia."
Hong Kong are pooled with England, Australia and South Africa. The other pool comprises defending champions Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Netherlands.