Hong Kong T20 Blitz

World’s No 1 limited-overs bowler Hasan Ali signs for HKI United in Hong Kong T20 Blitz

The Champions Trophy winner is joined by young spinner Shadab Khan, with the franchise hoping to inspire Hong Kong’s next generation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 5:51pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 10:43pm

The world’s number one ranked limited-overs bowler with the unique celebration style, Pakistan’s Hasan Ali, has signed up to play in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz – with his franchise hoping he can inspire local youngsters to become quality fast bowlers.

The 23-year-old rising star will play for Hong Kong Island United in the tournament at Mission Road from February 6-11 and the franchise’s owners hope he is able to perform his celebration plenty of times in Hong Kong.

He will be joined in the team by another promising player, Shadab Khan, who was scouted by HKI’s sister team, Islamabad United, for the Pakistan Super League.

“Hasan is an exciting prospect but he isn’t the only big name we are bringing in this year,” said owner Aamna Naqvi. “Hong Kong Island United has a lot more to offer.

“As far as Hasan is concerned, we want him to do his trademark celebration here in Hong Kong and inspire kids to run in and bowl fast like him.

“Hasan became a fast bowler because he saw Waqar Younis bowl, we hope kids here see Hasan bowl and aspire to bowl like him.”

Hasan played a major part in Pakistan’s astonishing Champions Trophy triumph last year, when his team initially struggled before hitting form. He finished as the top wicket-taker in the tournament, his 13 scalps costing an average of 14.69 as Pakistan thrashed India in the final with Hasan picking up player of the tournament honours.

“My journey started in the red jersey of Islamabad United, I am excited to wear Hong Kong Island United’s red now,” said Hasan. “Islamabad United is like a family to me and it will be an honour for me to represent its sister franchise in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.”

United co-owner Ali Naqvi said Hasan and Shadab’s presence in the teams reflects a preference for youth after experience hands Misbah-ul-Haq and Saeed Ajmal led the team last year.

“Hasan Ali is the star of world cricket, he is the highest ODI wicket-taker in 2017 so having him on board is really exciting not just for our team but also for the Blitz as a tournament,” he said. “Our aim is to keep bringing in names that can help local talent develop. This year we have gone for the youthful exuberance of Hasan Ali. He can light up the entire league and bring a new flavour to Hong Kong cricket.”

Coach Charlie Burke is particularly pleased with the signing of 19-year-old spinner Shadab.

“It is so exciting to welcome Shadab who is an outstanding young bowler,” said Burke. “He is one of the best slow bowlers in white ball cricket and will complement our squad that prides itself with keeping opposition totals low.

“His variety and changes of pace will be tough for any opposition batsmen and I can’t wait to see him light up the Blitz this year.”