Jason Yuan heads teen trio in debut at Incheon
Youngsters join two veterans, all of whom will represent Hong Kong in their first Asian Games
Budding all-rounder Jason Yuan will be one of three teenagers debuting for Hong Kong at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, in September.
A 15-strong men's squad named by the Hong Kong Cricket Association includes five players who will be appearing for the first time at the Asian Games, including debutants Yuan, 17, Mohammad Saad, 17, and Furqan Tahir, 19.
Regulars Mark Chapman and Nizakat Khan also make their Games debut. Yuan is one of three brothers who are all tipped as future internationals.
"Jason is young and has been playing for the CCC in the Saturday League [for the local Chinese team] and is in our under-19 squad," said Charlie Burke, HKCA director of cricket.
"He has just finished his studies in the UK at Malvern College where a number of first-class cricketers cut their teeth and certainly looks a promising prospect."
Saad is a leg spinner who is also part of the Hong Kong Under-19 squad. Tahir played at the last ACC Under-19 Trophy, and is a competent wicketkeeper and batsman.
"All three will be vying for the middle/low order batting spots. It will come down to their fielding and work ethic. They will have to train hard and I will keep a close watch on their performances before the Games," Burke said.
Burke also welcomed left-handed batsman Chapman and all-rounder Nizakat in the squad. Both players will boost the team, which was given a helping hand by the Hong Kong Olympic Committee that won dispensations for four others, including skipper Jamie Atkinson, who do not possess Hong Kong SAR passports.
"It is great to have Mark and Nizakat involved. They will add a lot of experience in our top order and both will have the opportunity to bowl. Neither played in the 2010 [Guangzhou Games], so this will be a great reward for two very committed players," Burke said.
The men's squad received a fillip in May when the Olympic Council of Asia approved the inclusion of Atkinson, Waqas Barkat, Aizaz Khan and Roy Lamsam - and women's captain Ishitaa Gidwani and Mariko Aota Hill - despite all without passports.
Gidwani will lead the 15-strong women's squad comprising 11 local Chinese players including star Natural Yip Sze-wan.
"The women have been terrific and trained hard under Najeeb Amar [former Hong Kong captain]. They finished third at the recent ACC Women's Premier tournament and I expect them to give it everything at the Asian Games," Burke said.