Hong Kong T20 Blitz

City Kaitak sign up England’s Ravi Bopara as they eye Hong Kong T20 Blitz title

Coach Robin Singh is confident the squad can improve from 2017’s runners-up performance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 2:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 4:28pm

City Kaitak have high hopes that they have the players to improve on last year’s runners-up position and win February’s Hong Kong T20 Blitz at Mission Road.

The team in the striking canary yellow outfits have confirmed Pakistani all-rounder Sohail Tanvir, English all-rounder Ravi Bopara, West Indies’ Samuel Badree and Rayad Emrit and Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer as their foreign players for the February 6-11 tournament.

City Kaitak were beaten by Kowloon Cantons in last year’s final and Robin Singh, the team’s mentor and head coach, said: “I am thrilled to have the likes of Tanvir, Bopara and Badree joining last season’s highest scorer, Kyle Coetzer and ever-contributing Rayad Emrit to the team. These players have a wealth of experience in T20s and it will be a great learning opportunity for the young Hong Kong players to rub shoulders with these superstars.”

The quality of the overseas players is supported by a talented local pool, including Hong Kong players Aizaz Khan, Waqas Barkat, Anshuman Rath and Jamie Atkinson.

Sohail recently entered the record books for his performance in the Caribbean Premier League when he took five wickets for a mere three runs – the best ever bowling performance in terms of economy in T20s. Ravi Bopara and Samuel Badree have been prolific in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL).

Bopara has contributed with bat and ball with a T20 batting average of over 27 and a strike rate of 119.20. Badree has a reputation for being very difficult to score runs off, which is evident in his T20 economy rate of under six runs an over.

“It is the first time I will be playing cricket in Hong Kong” said Ravi Bopara. “The opportunity of playing in another country always excites me but most importantly I would like to transfer my knowledge of the game to the younger players in the team.”

Badree, who played for Hong Kong Island United last year, is thrilled to be back. “I had no second thoughts when invited to play for City Kaitak in the Blitz,” he said. “I could see everyone involved last year went out their way to make it a welcoming and successful tournament. I enjoy seeing local talent flourish and all my experience will be at City Kaitak’s disposal as we aim to lift the trophy in 2018.”

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Emrit and Coetzer rejoin City Kaitak after successful performances in last year’s Hong Kong T20 Blitz.

Emrit took seven wickets for City Kaitak last season with a strike rate of 17.1 and his T20 performances throughout the world have been noticed with a call-up to the West Indies team.

Coetzer was City Kaitak’s highest run scorer, scoring 245 runs with three half-centuries at an average of 60.8.

Champions Kowloon Cantons happy with five overseas players for 2018 Hong Kong T20 Blitz defence

“I am delighted to be returning to Hong Kong to represent City Kaitak for the second year in a row. Last year we came agonisingly close to winning the tournament and we’ll be gunning to go one step further this year. It’s a great tournament and we are welcomed with open arms, so I cannot wait to pull on the yellow jersey again,” said Emrit.

City Kaitak squad

Aizaz Khan (Retained), Waqas Barkat (Retained), Anshuman Rath, Jamie Atkinson, Manjinder Singh,

Ishtiaq Muhammad, Raag Kapur, Mudassar Hussain, Seigfried Wai, Muhammad Umar, Courtney Kruger, Sohail Tanvir, Ravi Bopara, Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit, Kyle Coetzer.