Hong Kong T20 Blitz draft sees Anshuman Rath taken in first pick
A total of 42 domestic players are chosen by the five franchises for the third edition of the tournament
City Kaitak made the most of their top pick for the 2018 Hong Kong T20 Blitz by choosing Hong Kong all-rounder Anshuman Rath - one of the stars of the previous tournament where he represented Galaxy Gladiators Lantau.
Runners-up in 2017, City Kaitak also recruited wicketkeeper-batsman Jamie Atkinson, who played a role in Hong Kong’s victory in the Plate competition of last week’s World Sixes.
A total of 42 players were picked during Thursday’s draft at the Cricket Hong Kong headquarters in So Kon Po, with defending champions Kowloon Cantons selecting Waqas Khan and Ryan Buckley in their first two picks.
Hung Hom HD Jaguars went for Tanveer Ahmed and Adil Mehmood in their first two picks, Hong Kong Island United selected Yasim Murtaza and Zeeshan Ali and Gladiators chose Imran Arif and Shahid Wasif.
Rath scored a half-century and a couple of 40s for Gladiators and has also starred for Hong Kong and English county side Middlesex with the bat this year.
“Very happy with our selections. We more or less got what we wanted so we are all happy,” said City Kaitak owner Sushil Kumar.
The third edition of the Blitz will be held from February 6-11 at Mission Road, with the draft coming just days after a successful conclusion to the Hong Kong World Sixes – revived after a five-year break.
The five franchises are now in the process of confirming their overseas players. Last year, the likes of Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara, West Indies’ Dwayne Smith and Chris Jordan, of England, were among the big names who were snapped up by the teams. Cantons won the tournament by beating City Kaitak in the final.
Each of the five teams had named their two retained players for the Blitz and teams are still allowed to recruit more cricketers from the domestic list in the lead-up to the tournament.
Hong Kong Dragons players Siegfried Wai, Damien Yee, Jason Lui, Bobby Chan and Li Kai-ming were also taken up by the franchises.
“We probably got one more of our top picks that we thought we might get so we were happy with that,” said Cantons coach Craig Wright.
Gladiators manager Tabarak Dar said: “Looking very good I think we picked specialist bowlers, Shahid was a good pick for us as well. We have some experience there and I think we have better balance than we did last year.”
HKI coach Charlie Burke was also satisfied with their picks. “Very happy, picked up everyone that we wanted to so we can’t ask for more than that,” he said.
Afzal Haider, Jaguars coach, said: “We got what we wanted, we wanted genuine fast bowlers and we got those and I think we are well balanced and happy to also have a junior in the squad.”
Aizaz Khan, Waqas Barkat (retained), Anshuman Rath, Jamie Atkinson, Manjinder Singh, Ishtiaq Muhammad, Courtney Kruger, Raag Kapur, Mudassar Hussain, Siegfried Wai.
Hung Hom JD Jaguars
Kinchit Shah, Nizakat Khan (retained), Tanveer Ahmed, Adil Mehmood, Kyle Christie, Ninad Deveng Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Scott Mckechnie, Damien Yee, Aarush Bhagwat, Rana Nasrulla.
Hong Kong Island United
Tanwir Afza, Ehsan Khan (retained), Yasim Murtaza, Zeeshan Ali, Daniyal Bukhari, Ahsan Ali Abbsai, Suhaib Ahmad, Jason Lui, Chris Carter, Hamed Khan.
Babar Hayat, Ehsan Nawaz (retained), Waqas Khan, Ryan Buckley, Adeel Shafrique, Hussain Butt, Hassan Khan, Simandeep Singh, Sunny Bhimsaria, Saad Mahmood, Bobby Chan.
Galaxy Gladiators Lantau
Karandeep Singh, Haroon Ashrad (retained), Imran Arif, Shahid Wasif, Amandeep Singh, Moner Ahmed, Muhammad Balal, Mohammed Osama, Awais Mohammad, Li Kai-ming.