Cricket Hong Kong names 14-man squad for first two legs of bumper summer tour that includes T20 World Cup qualifying
- Team will travel to Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, England and Jersey on a tour that will last more than 3 months
- Main targets for Trent Johnston’s side are regaining team’s ODI status and qualifying for T20 World Cup
Cricket HK have named an initial 14-man squad for the first two legs of a bumper summer schedule, which will see the team travelling for more than three months.
Nizakat Khan will captain the side on a tour for the first time, with Hong Kong facing opposition in Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England and Jersey, before finishing up with the Asia Cup in September.
The side will leave Hong Kong on June 1 and travel to Namibia for a 14-day training camp that will also include three games against their hosts, before they move on to Uganda for the first of two Challenge League B tournaments this year.
“I feel incredibly honoured to have the opportunity to lead such a talented group,” Khan said. “We have a really well balanced squad with a great mix of players from those joining the squad on tour for the first time to experienced Hong Kong players in Babar Hayat and Ehsan Khan.
“Ultimately we have a group of guys that are all incredibly passionate about representing Hong Kong. It’s an exciting period of cricket we have ahead of us and I can’t wait to get started.”
Coach Trent Johnston’s side are second in the league, which also includes Bermuda, Italy, Jersey, Kenya and Uganda. The team that finishes first will progress to the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off, involving six teams with the top four gaining One Day International status.
The Covid-enforced break has allowed three players to qualify for Hong Kong through residency, and Yasim Murtaza, Zeeshan Ali and Daniel Pascoe are all included, as are young fast bowlers Ayush Shukla and Vikas Sharma.
Rahul Sharma, the director of cricket on the CHK board, said the governing body was “confident and behind our boys to perform at their best”.
“Despite the pandemic-related issues this is a very well prepared and a strong side,” he said. “We are sure they will do us proud.”
Hong Kong begin their Challenge League B campaign against Italy on June 18 at Lugogo Cricket Club in Kampala, and face the host nation two days later. Games against Bermuda, Jersey and Kenya follow between June 23 and 27.
From there, the side will travel to Durban for another training camp ahead of their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers in Zimbabwe from July 11 to 17.
Hong Kong have been grouped with the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea and Uganda in the eight-team tournament, which also includes Jersey, Singapore, the United States and Zimbabwe. The top two sides from each group will contest play-offs for a place in the final, with the teams making that game qualifying for the World Cup.
After Zimbabwe, there is the third leg of the Challenge League B in Jersey, before the Asian Cup – the location of which has still to be confirmed – marks the last stop of the tour.
“We have a squad of 14 for the first two legs,” Johnston said. “There will be another squad named for the next two legs, and then another squad named for the following two legs.
“We’re going to have a bit of ‘a couple of guys coming in, a couple of guys coming out’, so I think that could be a good sign for us, to refresh the squad.”
Hong Kong squad: Nizakat Khan (capt, Hong Kong Cricket Club), Adit Gorawara (HKCC), Aizaz Khan (Kowloon Cricket Club), Ayush Shukla (HKCC), Babar Hayat (KCC), Daniel Pascoe (KCC), Ehsan Khan (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club), Ghazanfar Mohammad (United Services Recreation Club), Haroon Arshad (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club), Jamie Atkinson (KCC), Kinchit Shah (HKCC), Vikas Sharma (KCC), Yasim Murtaza, Zeeshan Ali (Pakistan Association Cricket Club).