Women prepare for Pakistan series

Hong Kong will meet Pakistan in a series of three one-day internationals - a pre-qualifying event for the ICC Women's World Cup in Australia in 2009.

The fledgling Hong Kong women's team, captained by Neisha Pratt, will travel to Pakistan soon to play a best-of-three series, with the winners advancing to the World Cup qualifying tournament later this year.

'It's an awesome opportunity,' said Pratt. 'It will be tough work playing Pakistan in Pakistan for our new team. But we have got a good crop of players and we will give it our best shot.'

An 18-strong squad of players are in training under coach Nasir Hameed.

While confirming the contest, Hong Kong Cricket Association officials were unaware when it would take place. 'We're awaiting confirmation of the dates and venues for the matches from the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). We hope to receive them shortly,' said Mark Burns, the HKCA women's cricket chairman of selectors.

'We have been lobbying hard for this chance and we're grateful that the ACC has recognised the development of women's cricket in Hong Kong by giving our representative team an opportunity to reach the Women's World Cup in 2009,' added HKCA chairman Clive Howard.

Howard praised the huge strides local women's cricket has made. 'Women's cricket in Hong Kong has come a long way in a short space of time. We introduced league cricket just two years ago.'

The Sri Lankan community in Hong Kong wants to field a team in the premier Sunday League next season, according to long-standing enthusiast Chandrin Dissanayake.

'There are a number of Sri Lankan professionals playing in the Sunday League and they have been making a great contribution to their clubs over the past years,' said Dissanayake. 'Now through a wholly Sri Lankan team, we aim to bring our talent under one flag - the Sri Lankan flag.'

Dissanayake said it was hoped to field both a men's and a women's team next season and the hunt was on for sponsors who would fund the two sides.