Gower backs Trust scheme

DAVID Gower has given his consent to launch a Trust Fund to aid the development of cricket in Hong Kong.

The former England Test batsman, who will arrive in the territory in February for a couple of speaking engagements, has said he is supportive of the idea to set up a scholarship scheme for local cricketers.

'We have spoken to his agent in Australia and we were informed that Gower likes the idea and is willing to launch it when he arrives for the speaking tour,' said Brian Catton, executive director of Cricket World International (CWI).

Gower, who is in Australia for the Ashes series as a television commentator, is due to arrive in Hong Kong on February 13 after stopping off in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for the first two legs of the speaking tour which is organised by sponsors Bentley Reid and Thomas.

The Hong Kong leg is the final stop before Gower goes back home to England.

While the speaking tour will be a major drawcard - especially as he will be coming armed with the inside story on the Ashes - Hong Kong will benefit doubly with the setting up of the Trust Fund.

Organisers, CWI and Bentley Reid and Thomas, estimate they can raise around $500,000 from corporate sponsors at a gala evening.

'We still don't know the exact mechanics of how it will work. But we hope to circulate the idea to as many companies in Hong Kong and ask them to contribute to the fund,' said Catton.

Catton already has the blessing of the Hong Kong Cricket Association to go ahead with the scheme.

It is hoped that the Trust Fund will help send budding young cricketers to England and Australia to develop their game.