Loss of Brettell big blow for HK
DAVID Brettell, one of Hong Kong's leading all-rounders, has withdrawn from the squad for next year's International Cricket Council Trophy in Kenya.
The 37-year-old lawyer, who led the territory's bowling averages in the 1990 ICC Trophy in the Netherlands, recently set up his own practice and is unable to take time off.
Said Hong Kong skipper Pat Fordham: ''I rate Brettell very highly and it's a great shame he has had to drop out.
''But he has just started his own business and there is no way he can afford to take four weeks off.'' Brettell, a slow left-arm bowler and solid left-hand bat, became an Oxford Blue in university days.
He finished top of the bowling averages in Hong Kong's seven-match Netherlands campaign, bowling 28.5 overs and taking eight wickets for 135 runs at 16.88 apiece. He batted only once in his three matches and was unbeaten on 32.
The withdrawal of Brettell, who plays for St George's and Kowloon Cricket Club's Infidels, further weakens the spin bowling department, which was Hong Kong's main strength in the 1990 ICC Trophy.
Their 16-strong party to the Netherlands included four slow bowlers in Brettell, Salauddin Tariq, David Paull and Yarman Vachha.
Paull died an air crash in Koh Samui, Thailand, and Tariq's banking commitments took him away from the territory.
This leaves veteran off-spinner Vachha as the first-choice spinner for Kenya but the second spot is very much up for grabs.
Hong Kong's selectors will announce a squad of 25 players tomorrow and this must be reduced to 16 for the tournament, which runs from February 12 to March 6 in Nairobi.