Hong Kong’s Babar Hayat to play for Kerala Kings in UAE T10 Cricket League
The batsman will play alongside the likes of England captain Morgan, Wahab Riaz, Kieron Pollard and Liam Plunkett, among others
Babar Hayat’s selection by the Kerala Kings for next month’s T10 Cricket League shows that Hong Kong players are starting to catch the eye of international teams, said coach Simon Cook.
Hayat will join England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, Pakistan international Wahab Riaz, West Indian Kieron Pollard and England’s Liam Plunkett, among others, in the Kings side to contest six-team tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
The Hong Kong captain’s selection was aided by former India international Robin Singh, the coach of Hong Kong T20 Blitz side City Kaitak.
— T10 Cricket League (@ttencricketuae) November 5, 2017
“It’s great to see Babar get picked up in this global event, which not only highlights that Hong Kong players are catching the eye of the world but that our own Blitz franchises are extending their reach to other tournaments globally,” said Cook.
“Robin Singh and the City Kaitak franchise will have seen Babar up close in last year’s T20 Blitz and credit to them for taking the punt on him in this tournament.
“It really shows the added value of the Blitz where a franchise or coach can look at taking a player that would normally not be in the frame.”
The tournament, backed by the Pakistan Cricket Board, is scheduled to be held from December 21-25 with matches of 10 overs for each side with each game lasting about 90 minutes.
Maratha Arabians, Punjabi Legends, Pakhtoons, Bangla Tigers and Colombo Lions are the other franchises taking part.
Hayat said the Kings call-up came out of the blue.
“I was surprised – the day before Cooky messaged me to say he had put my name in the draft. Next day [Hong Kong teammate] Nizakat sent me a message saying congrats you’ve been picked. Im so excited still thinking I’m dreaming,” said Hayat.
“This is the first league outside of Hong Kong where I’ve been picked up there are a lot of international stars. I’ve been playing Sixes so have some short form experience which will help me although the grounds will be bigger.”
Watch Babar Hayat’s 122 off 60 balls against Oman
“This is the first step for me and if I perform there will be other windows for me to play cricket all around the world as well. It’s a good opportunity for me as a player.”
“I’ve had a lots of messages of support from people in Hong Kong and I hope there can be others here who can get their chance in the future as well.”
“I don’t know Robin personally, but I heard from people who played previously HK and at City Kaitak that he’s a nice guy and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Morgan will captain the Kings, who also include Hong Kong T20 Blitz players Rayad Emrit and Nicholas Pooran as well as Sohail Tanvir, who skippered Pakistan to the final of this month’s Hong Kong World Sixes.
The other captains are Shoaib Malik (Legends), Shahid Afridi (Pakhtoons), Sarfraz Ahmed (Tigers) and Virender Sehwag (Arabians). The Lions have yet to announce their skipper, though it is expected to be ex-test batsman Kumar Sangakkara.
Hayat is one of Hong Kong’s leading batsmen and had a strong Sixes competition with the bat as he led his team to victory in the Plate competition.
He had four innings at the Kowloon Cricket Club in which he reached the retirement mark of 31 – against South Africa (36), New Zealand (33), Sri Lanka (32) and Marylebone Cricket Club (31).