Squads complete for Hong Kong T20 Blitz – organisers sitting on potential global cricket goldmine
With 25 overseas players in only its second edition, the tournament has the potential to become a world-class event
A strong dose of international star power is set to make Hong Kong the centre of global cricket from March 8-12, with the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz at Tin Kwong Road having the potential to become one of the world’s leading short-form tournaments.
Barely 10 months after the inaugural edition hailed ex-Australia captain Michael Clarke as its marquee name, the five franchise for this year’s event have pulled together 25 overseas players from nine countries and brought in top coaches.
The stellar names include Brian Lara, Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mishab-ul-Haq and Ian Bell, among others.
The franchises have not only worked hard to lure quality players but they have also spent the past few months reaching out to the community in helping to develop cricket in Hong Kong while building their own fan base.
Watch: Sangakkara takes a brilliant catch in the Pakistan Super League
Cricket Hong Kong chief executive officer Tim Cutler is confident the Blitz will help bolster Hong Kong’s standing in world cricket.
“In true Hong Kong style, there quite simply isn’t a tournament like this anywhere else in the world and to that end it is no surprise we have fielded requests for information from across the globe,” said Cutler. “A huge thanks to our five franchise owners. Without them there is simply not Blitz.
“We could not be happier with the final squad lists that have been submitted by the five franchises.
“To see 25 of the world’s best T20 cricketers – from no fewer than nine countries – is simply amazing and is surely beyond anyone’s expectations for this second HK T20 Blitz.
“I’m not sure who I am more excited for, the fans in the ground and around the world who are going to be able to watch world-class action or the Hong Kong players, who get to play alongside and against some absolute idols of the modern game.”
The five franchises are Galaxy Gladiators Lantau, HKI United, City Kaitak, Kowloon Cantons and Hung Hom JD Jaguars.
West Indies great Lara – who holds the world record for a test innings of 400 – was this week announced as the mentor for the Gladiators team.
Among the factors that make the Hong Kong tournament unique is its five-day format – instead of several weeks – and the fact that it is hosted by an associate member of the International Cricket Council.
Gladiators will be led by Sri Lankan Sangakkara, who this week helped Karachi Kings eliminate Misbah’s (HKI United) Islamabad United from the Pakistan Super League.
Misbah will be joined in the HKI United squad by England’s Bell and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal while City Kaitak will boast another Sri Lanka T20 specialist, Dilshan, along with England’s Chris Jordan.
Pakistani star Afridi will turn out for Kowloon Cantons while the Jaguars’ line-up include West Indies’ Sammy and Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez.
The teams are also packed with leading Hong Kong internationals, who are in top condition having recently competed in a tournament in United Arab Emirates and took on the Netherlands in a four-day match and two one-dayers.
Galaxy Gladiators Lantau
Overseas players: Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Jesse Ryder (New Zealand), Sohail Tanvir (Pakistan), Seekkuge Prasanna (Sri Lanka), Assad Vala (Papua New Guinea).
Hong Kong-based players: Anshuman Rath, Mohammad Awais, Mo Khan, Haseeb Amjad, Daniyal Bukhari, Courtney Kruger, Karandeep Singh, Arshad Haroon Mohammad, Ishaq Ibraheem Muhammad, Jason Lui, Sourav Kumar.
Overseas players: Misbah Ul-Haq (Pakistan), Ian Bell (England), Samuel Badree (West Indies), Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan), George Munsey (Scotland).
Hong Kong-based players: Jamie Atkinson, Tanwir Afzaal, Ehsan Khan, Daniel Pascoe, Kyle Christie, Moner Dar, Muhammad Balal, Devang Bulsara, Rory Caines, Ady Lee, Anas Khan.
Overseas players: Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Kyle Coetzer (Scotland), Nicholas Pooran (West Indies), Rayad Emrit (West Indies), Chris Jordan (England).
Hong Kong-based players: Aizaz Khan, Nadeem Ahmed, Gareth Harte, Ryan Buckley, Waqas Barkat, Raag Kapur, Akbar Khan, Niaz Ali, Ankur Sharma, Sheryar Saeed, Siegfried Wai.
Overseas Players: Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Dwayne Smith (West Indies), Marlon Samuels (West Indies), Yasir Arafat (Pakistan), Calum MacLeod (Scotland).
Hong Kong-based players: Babar Hayat, Tanveer Ahmed, Shahid Wasif, Waqas Khan, Giacomo Lamplough, Ehsan Nawaz, Ahsan Abassi, Li Kai-ming, Muddasar Hussain, Angus Robson and Sunny Bhimsaria
Hung Hom JD Jaguars
Overseas players: Darren Sammy (West Indies), Mohammad Hafeez (Pakistan), Mohammad Naveed (UAE), James Franklin (New Zealand), Johan Botha (South Africa).
Hong Kong-based players: Kinchit Shah, Nizakat Khan, Ninad Shah, Chris Carter, Imran Arif, Simandeep Singh, Jangzeb Khan, Ashley Caddy, Skhawat Ali, Damien Yee, Vishal Sharma.