I wasn’t enjoying the role at Cricket Hong Kong, says former director of cricket Charlie Burke
Now at Kowloon Cricket Club, the Australian says he is disappointed that Tim Cutler is no longer chief executive at the governing body
Coaching stalwart Charlie Burke said a combination of professional and personal reasons convinced him to leave the national cricket set-up and take up a senior role with the Kowloon Cricket Club.
Speaking days after Cricket Hong Kong chief executive Tim Cutler said he was leaving the governing body without explaining why, Burke said he had differences with the Cricket Hong Kong board in certain aspects of development. He also said he was “disappointed” Cutler was no longer at Cricket Hong Kong.
He added that he felt it was the right time to move on after seven years with Cricket Hong Kong, which included a stint as head coach of the national team and culminating in his appointment as director of cricket.
“I felt after seven years of service with the national team and with the high-performance programme and development, it was time to move on,” said Burke, who has taken up a similar role at Kowloon Cricket Club (KCC) after leaving Cricket Hong Kong in March. “I was approached by KCC and they asked me if I was interested in a position there. It’s more of a management role and offers me potential cricket pathways management-wise.
“I received tremendous support from the Cricket Hong Kong board during my time with them. But I did feel as if the direction we were going in was not necessarily where I felt we should be going and that happens from time to time.
“Boards have to make decisions and sometimes tough decisions and I just thought it was time to move on.
“I wasn’t enjoying the role as much as I was previously and didn’t feel like there was support for some of the things I wanted to do going forward, not just from a board point of view but also from a management point of view.”
Perth-born Burke said one major difference with the Cricket Hong Kong board was finding the right balance in catering for elite and recreational cricketers.
“I was desperate to create an elite-tier competition for the best players coming through the system, whether they were contracted or not,” said Burke, who helped lead Hong Kong to a historic victory over Bangladesh in an ICC World T20 qualifier in 2014. “They needed to be challenged at domestic level and there’s been talk of getting rid of the premier league and putting in a very recreational set-up.
“It’s a tough balancing act. Realistically in Hong Kong, there are 35-40 very talented elite players and the remaining 600 are recreational. I just thought that leading up to the next World Cup [in 2019], it was one of the things that was frustrating.”
Burke said he did not know the reason Cutler suddenly left Cricket Hong Kong, having played a major role in lifting the profile of Hong Kong cricket in two years including helping to organise the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.
“I think it’s disappointing,” said Burke. “He had his fair share of challenges and it was always going to be tough from day one.
“I thought he did a fantastic job and achieved a lot. He helped me massively with the national team, he supported its direction and helped with the Blitz, the rebranding and that side of things so I was disappointed and surprised that he was going.
“A year out from the World Cup qualifiers [in 2018], it’s a bit risky having such a big turnover of senior staff.”