Cricket Hong Kong

Late fitness test for Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat ahead of second ODI against Papua New Guinea

Batsman is suffering from a groin injury with important matches away to Kenya coming up later in November

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 November, 2016, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 12:29am

Captain Babar Hayat will have a fitness test on Sunday morning before deciding whether or not to play in Hong Kong’s second cricket one-day international against Papua New Guinea at Mission Road.

Hayat suffered a groin injury while batting on Friday, scoring 77 to lead Hong Kong to a 106-run victory in the first game of the three-match series. And the Hong Kong management will wait until the last minute to allow him to recover while also considering the two-match ICC ODI series against Kenya later in November.

“We will do all we can to get him fit for tomorrow,” said Hong Kong coach Simon Cook on Saturday. “He is a key player and not only that but the captain as well.

“It’s very important to get him playing and we will give him every opportunity to get fit but while also keeping an eye on the Kenya series. We will make that call tomorrow morning.”

Hayat was seen to be limping while running between wickets against PNG in the first match and was unable to take the field when it was Hong Kong’s turn to field.

The Kenya series is part of the ICC’s World Cricket League Championship and figures in the qualification process for the next World Cup finals.

Should Hayat be unavailable, players such as new recruit Kyle Christie – the Hong Kong-born Perth resident – are able to stake their claims for the place in the starting line-up.

“Kyle is coming into the squad for the first time and he’s really pushing hard for a place,” said Cook. “We said to him he needs to earn his spot and when a spot comes up, he needs to try to take it.

“There are a few [injury] niggles around with other players and we will see tomorrow to make some last-minute judgment calls. I do believe he will get his opportunity in this series.”

Cook was happy with Friday’s victory but said the 106-run margin of victory failed to reflect PNG’s quality.

“About 30 overs into our innings, the wicket started to spin and slow up and probably exaggerated the margin of victory,” said Cook. “We played pretty well but it’s important to improve on aspects such as batting and rotating the strike better to accelerate the scoring with minimal risk.”