Cricket Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath hopes Middlesex experience will boost his batting

The 19-year-old is on a professional contract with the English county side and is flourishing in their second team

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 May, 2017, 6:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 May, 2017, 12:19am

Anshuman Rath had just scored his maiden one-day century but it was a bittersweet experience. His 134 against the Netherlands was not enough as Hong Kong fell five runs short in their World Cricket League Championship match at Mission Road in February.

His dismissal in the 45th over sparked a Hong Kong collapse and they ended up losing. They lost the series 2-0. The 19-year-old rues not being able to carry Hong Kong to victory in both games, scoring 85 in the second match.

However, the Hong Kong-born all-rounder hopes that his stint with Middlesex in England will give him the technical and mental boost needed to take charge of similar situations in the future.

“Yes, I did well [against Netherlands] and yes I scored a a few runs but I always believed I could have scored more,” said Rath from United Kingdom, where he has signed professional forms with Middlesex and plays for their second XI.

“I got starts and didn’t convert and that is something my game is lacking and which I am currently in the process of working out. You always want to be the person to get your team over the line and against Netherlands I wasn’t able to do that.

“We lost two crucial games and I got out at the wrong times and I take responsibility for that. I’m learning in order to improve my game.”

Rath is one of three players with Hong Kong backgrounds playing in Britain.

Miles Richardson, 25, the former Hong Kong Cricket Club player, is with Northamptonshire while Gareth Harte, who played for Hong Kong Cricket Club and City Kaitak in the Blitz, has been signed up by Durham.

Rath’s move up to the professional ranks has always been on the cards given his schooling at Harrow, which has a close link with the Middlesex club.

Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath earns praise from Kumar Sangakkara in Gladiators triumph

He has been in excellent form for the second team, scoring 123 against Kent in April. His rise is reminiscent of former KGV schoolboy Dermot Reeve, who represented Sussex, Warwickshire and also played for England in the 90s.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Rath. “It’s something that’s really helped my game, coming to the UK with the training, great coaches and facilities. Being in this environment has really helped me improve and I would encourage more people from Hong Kong to do the same.”

He said while Hong Kong-based players have access to the best that is available in the city, it pales in comparison to the facilities and support offered in a country with a rich cricket culture.

“Everything is absolutely spot on here,” he said. “The environment is different, there is a bigger pool of players so there is more competition.

“Maybe that’s one thing in Hong Kong where people aren’t pushing for places so some are in cruise control rather than trying to push themselves and making themselves better.

Anshuman Rath leads the way as Hong Kong close in on victory against Netherlands

“The work ethic is also excellent and you can focus specifically on technical areas that are you weak in. We also really work on the mental side of things and put yourself in different scenarios and work out how you will handle them.”

Rath said he was looking forward to helping Hong Kong in their bid to finish in the top four of the World Cricket League and secure a place in the 2019 World Cup qualifier.

“I’d like to play for Hong Kong as long as I can until circumstances dictate otherwise,” said Rath. “Hong Kong has taught me so much growing up, I basically learned my cricket there so to turn my back on them is not easy.”