New captain Tanwir Afzal promised to play “fearless” cricket as Hong Kong attempt to win through to the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in India next year. Afzal, who represented Pakistan Under-19s before arriving in Hong Kong in 2008, will have Mark Chapman as his deputy for the 14-team qualifying tournament for associate members in Scotland and Ireland from July 9-26. Afzal said he was confident of winning one of the six places up for grabs. “We will play a brand of fearless cricket, trying to be positive whatever the situation is, and I will try to lead from the front. It is a great honour for me to lead the side,” said Afzal, who was confirmed as captain by selectors yesterday. “If we take this approach we should qualify as we have a strong and well-balanced side.” Fast bowler Afzal, 27, takes over the role from wicketkeeper-batsman Jamie Atkinson, who stood down this month at the tail end of the ICC Intercontinental Cup tour to Namibia, citing poor batting form. We will play a brand of fearless cricket, trying to be positive whatever the situation is, and I will try to lead from the front Tanwir Afzal Chapman and fellow left-handed batsmen Anshuman Rath and Kinchit Shah are three changes to the squad which went to Namibia and will boost the batting department “We have to be more consistent, especially in our batting,” Afzal said. “The return of our three left-handers will strengthen our line-up and I’m very confident we can achieve our goal of qualifying. “We have qualified for the main tournament before [last year’s ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh] and we can do it again. This team is now more mature and professional,” Afzal said. Hong Kong head coach Charlie Burke said: “The T20 format best suits us and I’m confident we will qualify for the World Twenty20 again as this would have to be one of the strongest squads we have ever had.” The rest of the 15-strong squad comprises Irfan Ahmed, Nadeem Ahmed, Nizakat Khan, Waqas Barkat, Aizaz Khan, Babar Hayat, Anas Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Haseeb Amjad and Waqas Khan. Hong Kong are grouped with Ireland, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, USA and Jersey. The other pool is made up of Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Scotland, Canada, Kenya and Oman. The winners of each pool automatically book a qualifying berth, while the next three teams from each pool progress to the knock-out stages to fight it out for the remaining four passages to India next March.