Hong Kong cricketer Li Kai-ming becomes first Chinese player in Australia's Big Bash League Twenty20 tournament
Legspinner becomes first Hong Kong Chinese player to sign for Australian T20 professional team as part of community rookie programme
Li Kai-ming will break new ground for Hong Kong when he becomes the first local Chinese cricketer to play in Australia's Big Bash League (BBL).
The 24-year-old Hong Kong Dragons star, who grew up idolising Australian spinner Shane Warne, will join the Sydney Sixers as the team's community rookie for the Twenty20 tournament that starts next month.
"I am very excited to be selected as the community rookie for the Sydney Sixers and I intend to make the best of this rare opportunity," said Li, who is also known as Ming Li.
"My aim is to be one of the leading cricketers for Hong Kong and I look forward to the challenges this experience will provide, which I know will go a long way in helping me achieve my cricketing goals."
"I'd like to thank the Hong Kong Cricket Association, the Sydney Sixers and Cricket Australia for offering me this fantastic opportunity with one of the leading Big Bash League clubs."
The BBL is Australia's version of global T20 leagues that have taken the cricket world by storm.
There are eight teams in the league and the Sixers' first game is against Sydney Thunder on December 17.
Li's involvement is part of the Cricket Australia Rookie Programme and the Sport For All strategy to create pathways for young cricketers
"There is a huge Chinese and Hong Kong population in Sydney and it's a great opportunity to engage new sectors of the community there," said HKCA chief executive Tim Cutler.
"This is one of the most exciting developments in Hong Kong Cricket history. We do hope this is the start of a great relationship with the Sydney Sixers and New South Wales Cricket.
"We can't wait to see the positive effect Ming's BBL involvement will have on the already rapid development within the growing Chinese cricket community," he added.
"With the Hong Kong team competing in next year's ICC World Twenty20, it will not only give Ming a head start in preparations, but also allow him an insight into some of the best players in T20 cricket."
A right-arm legspinner, Li is the first Chinese player to play an official T20 match, against Afghanistan in Sharjah during the 2012 ICC World Cup Qualifiers.
His sister, Godiva, has also represented Hong Kong in the women's team in both Asian Games in which cricket was played.
Sydney Sixers general manager Dominic Remond said: "We are very excited to work with the Hong Kong Cricket Association identifying Ming an emerging player of talent.
"The Sixers and the Big Bash are great vehicles supporting CA's Sport for All strategy," added Remond.
"The opportunity for Ming to experience a professional organisation like the Sixers and to be a visible role model for his community in Hong Kong and Sydney is outstanding.
"We know it will be an experience of a life time for him and offer our club and supporters an insight into a different cricketing culture."