Hong Kong’s best players may miss Cricket Sixes because of crucial ICC World League matches
Priority is given to 50-over games that could lead to World Cup qualification scheduled for before and after the Kowloon Cricket Club event
Hong Kong may be forced to rest their best players for the Hong Kong Sixes if selectors feel it would affect their chances of playing in important ICC matches before and after the revived tournament.
Coach Simon Cook must make some decisions on what kind of team to choose for the Hong Kong Sixes in October, with the tournament coming in the middle of ICC World Cricket League and Intercontinental Games.
Cook is wary of risking his top players at the October 28-29 tournament at the Kowloon Cricket Club. Weeks after the event, Hong Kong will embark on a training tour of UAE culminating in two WCL games against Papua New Guinea.
The tournament also comes two weeks after Hong Kong host Nepal in two WCL matches at Mission Road and just five days after playing Afghanistan in a four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture.
“It’s definitely not an easy decision,” said Cook. “From a performance perspective, we will try to optimise our players’ time so that they’re at their best in the best tournaments.
“For us, the most important games are in the World Cricket League. The Sixes come after the Nepal games, which is quite nice. It gives us a clearer picture of where we stand and what round seven [against PNG] will mean for us.
“That will enable us to make a more balanced selection. But round seven comes soon after the Sixes when we go to the UAE and we can’t really afford to have someone like [Hong Kong captain] Babar Hayat breaking a finger and being out for six weeks.
“We’ll field the strongest team as we possibly can based on our performance and expectations for the Sixes and for round seven.”
Hong Kong are fourth in the WCL table with the top four teams advancing to next year’s ICC World Cup qualifiers. The World Cup will be held in England in 2019. The matches against PNG are scheduled for December 6 and 8.
The Intercontinental Cup provides Hong Kong with valuable experience in four-day games and provides added importance with Afghanistan’s recent promotion to full test status.