The loss of key all-rounder Mohammed Jamshaid will not affect the balance of the side, Hong Kong captain Rahul Sharma insisted on the eve of the SAR's crucial opener against Bahrain in the Asian Cricket Council Trophy. Jamshaid pulled out at the last minute from the 14-strong squad due to business commitments in Pakistan. He has been replaced by Imran Farcy. The absence of the left-arm medium-pacer, who would have shared the new ball with Afzaal Haider, was downplayed by Sharma yesterday. 'Yes, on past performances he could have walked into the final XI. But we won't miss him for there is healthy competition among the rest of the squad with no one absolutely certain of his place in the team,' said Sharma. Sharma and the coaching think-tank of Robin Singh and Lal Jayasinghe form the selection panel at this pre-World Cup qualifying competition. The team for today's opening game against Bahrain at the Selangor Turf Club will only be announced before the game after Singh and company have had a good look at the wicket. Despite Sharma's brave words, Jamshaid will be missed. Not so much for his bowling, but rather his bludgeoning batting which can take apart any attack on his day. The stocky left-hander can be a match-winner coming down the order and his absence will definitely weaken the lower order's capacity to put crucial runs on the board. Singh has placed a lot of emphasis on the players' fitness and, according to Sharma, this team is the fittest he has been with since making his Hong Kong debut in 1993. 'I have not been part of a Hong Kong squad which has worked so hard preparing for the tournament. This is the fittest bunch of players who will play for Hong Kong. Now it is just a matter of going out there and performing,' said Sharma. Bahrain, who arrived straight from winning three games in a warm-up tour of Sri Lanka, are one of four teams playing for the first time at the ACC Trophy (the others are Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia). Little is known about them besides that most of the players are originally from the sub-continent. 'We cannot take them, or for that matter, any team lightly. This is a crucial game for us as we need to get off to the perfect winning start,' said Sharma. Left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar, who had a commendable debut at the Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy last month in Singapore, and Haider will play key roles in Hong Kong's campaign. But it will be the batsman who will have to shine if Hong Kong are to realise their goal of entering the final on June 22 and thus booking their berth at next year's ICC Trophy in Ireland.