Ahsan Abbasi fulfils dream to represent Hong Kong in ICC World Cup qualifiers
The 23-year-old is called up in a 14-strong squad three years after arriving in the city from Pakistan
Ahsan Abbasi arrived in Hong Kong three years ago hoping that he would one day be able to represent the city at the highest level. This week, his dream came true when he was named in Hong Kong’s 14-man squad for the ICC World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe in March.
The 23-year-old all-rounder from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, will feature in an experienced Hong Kong squad who face a massive task to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, taking on test teams Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, Scotland and another qualifier in group B. West Indies, Ireland, Netherlands and Papua New Guinea are in group A.
“I was invited by Pakistan Association as their overseas player to play for them,” said Abbasi, who with his wife runs an English teaching centre in Tuen Mun. “I played for them for three seasons, got married and now I play for United Services Recreation Club.
“It was a great moment and great feeling for me when I was selected. When I came to Hong Kong, that was my aim. And it’s all going to plan.”
Abbasi represented Pakistan at under-15 level and played grade two professional cricket in his home country before moving to Hong Kong. He is eligible for Hong Kong after governing body the ICC recently change its rules to allow a player to represent their association if they have lived there for at least 300 days over three years.
Babar Hayat will captain the Hong Kong team with Anshuman Rath as his deputy. The squad will be boosted by the fact that the players will compete in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz a few weeks before the tournament, playing against and alongside top overseas stars such as West Indian Darren Sammy.
“It’s clearly a hugely important tournament and our priority is to get to the super sixes,” said head coach Simon Cook. “If we get further than that, the qualifiers will be more difficult because we are likely to meet full member nations.
Kudos to @CricketACT and @CricketHK for their continued partnership, that has extended beyond stints for @HK players in #Canberra..great opportunity for #HK players to be part of #PMXI #curtain-raiser match..squads announced - https://t.co/MjuuWxYco2 pic.twitter.com/hYxGCwd1OC
— Czarsportz Cricket (@deathknock) January 27, 2018
“When we played in the last qualifiers there were no test nations and we narrowly missed out. This time it’s a lot harder.
“Our preparations have been good, they would have had a huge amount of cricket in the past eight months.”
Some of the squad are now in Australia taking part in a friendly match on Friday against an Australia Capital Territory XI, which is a curtain-raiser to the T20 match between England and a Prime Minister’s XI.
The Hong Kong players will leave for South Africa on February 13 to take part in a quadrangular tournament against Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands in their final warm-up event before the Zimbabwe qualifiers.
Hong Kong Squad:
Babar Hayat – Captain (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club)
Anshuman Rath – Vice Captain (Hong Kong Cricket Club)
Nizakat Khan (Hong Kong Cricket Club)
Scott McKechnie (Kowloon Cricket Club)
Simandeep Singh (Kowloon Cricket Club)
Ahsan Ali Abbasi (United Services Recreation Club)
Ehsan Khan (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club)
Aizaz Khan (Kowloon Cricket Club)
Tanwir Afzal (Pakistan Association Cricket Club)
Ehsan Nawaz (Hong Kong Cricket Club)
Nadeem Ahmed (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club)
Tanveer Ahmed (Hong Kong Cricket Club)
Christopher Carter (Kowloon Cricket Club)
Shahid Wasif (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club)
Waqas Barkat (Kowloon Cricket Club)
Head Coach: Simon Cook
Assistant Coach: Mark Wright
Team Analyst: Chris Pickett
Physio: Sarah Whitehead
Manager: Jawaid Iqbal
Haroon Arshad (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club)
Kyle Christie (Midland Guildford Cricket Club)
Waqas Khan (Little Sai Wan Cricket Club)
Kinchit Shah (Kowloon Cricket Club)
Raag Kapur (Hong Kong Cricket Club)