Cricket Hong Kong

Galaxy Riders hope Li Kai-ming can help boost popularity of cricket in Hong Kong

The Dragons player will turn out for the GII Lantau outfit in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 7:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2016, 7:26pm

The GII Lantau Galaxy Riders are hoping the presence of Li Kai-ming in their DTC Mobile Hong Kong T20 Blitz team will help to increase the popularity of cricket in the city.

We had the opportunity to get other players but we wanted to promote Hong Kong players so that’s why we chose Li Kai-ming in the draft
Vijender Kumar Kaushik, coach

Li will line up alongside leading Hong Kong players and overseas recruits from India in the four-team tournament from May 27-29 at Mission Road.

“We had the opportunity to get other players but we wanted to promote Hong Kong players so that’s why we chose Li Kai-ming in the draft,” said team coach Vijender Kumar Kaushik.

“We are definitely hoping that Li can inspire more Hong Kong people to take up cricket.”

Li is the only Chinese player taking part in the tournament. The team have also recruited four cricketers from Delhi, India – Saurabh Passi, Neel Mani Jha, Harshit Verma, Narendra Chauhan – although only two overseas players are allowed in the line-up.

The 24-year-old Li, who played for Hong Kong at the 2010 Asian Games and also turns out for the development Dragons team, is keen to make an impact at the tournament, which features former Australian captain Michael Clarke in the Kowloon Cantons side.

“I hope I get a chance to take Michael Clarke’s wicket,” said Li, on the prospect of bowling to the batsman.

“I think it’s very refreshing. I’ve never had anything like this before in my career. I will do my best to limit my opponents’ runs.”

Also taking part in the tournament are Woodworm Island Warriors, who have recruited from Australia, and Hung Hom JD Jagaurs, who have opted for players from the Mumbai scene.

The Galaxy Riders franchise is owned by Hong Kong-based businessman Suresh Khandelwal, who is originally from Delhi. Khandelwal jumped on the chance to snatch a franchise after the Hong Kong Cricket Association announced that it was putting up bids for an inaugural T20 tournament.

Galaxy Riders went for talented Hong Kong youngster Anshuman Rath in the first round of the draft but the player was forced to pull out because of study commitments in the UK.

Rath is replaced by Mohammed Khan and the team also boast Waqas Khan, Angus Robson and a host of top local players.

“This is our first experience of such a tournament in Hong Kong,” said Kaushik. “The response we are getting is tremendous and we hope for the best and some good performances.

“For [owner] Suresh, cricket is a religion and he is happy to have secured one of the franchises.”

He is also delighted that a player of the calibre of Clarke is keen to play in the Hong Kong event.

“Clarke is a major name in world cricket and definitely his presence will improve the status of the tournament.”

The four teams will play in a single round-robin over the first two days with the top two sides facing each other in the final on Sunday.