Cricket Hong Kong

Asia Cup 2018 – Hong Kong showed against India they deserve one-day international status, says Dean Jones

Commentator and former cricketer says the ICC should provide more opportunities for associate members to show what they can do

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 5:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2018, 10:34pm

Hong Kong’s performance against India in the Asia Cup is proof that they should have their one-day international status returned to them, said former Australia batsman and television commentator Dean Jones.

Hong Kong, led by 20-year-old Anshuman Rath – the youngest of six captains at the Asia Cup in Dubai – gave India a fright with their run chase on Tuesday, falling 26 runs short of victory after scoring 259 for eight.

Writing on Twitter, Jones said: “If @ICC had any heart with the recent BRILLIANT performances of @CricketHK Then they SHOULD AWARD THEM ODI STATUS! Honestly, if ICC are serious at trying to build and develop the game in there (sic) region.”

Hong Kong spent four long years playing in the second division of world cricket, becoming one of the best associate member teams despite limited resources and earning official one-day status.

However, it all unravelled in one tournament – the ICC World Cup qualifier earlier this year – when Hong Kong finished in the bottom two and lost their ODI status. Their one victory was against Afghanistan, who beat Sri Lanka this week in the Asia Cup.

When questioned on Twitter on his views, Jones pointed out that the Hong Kong players have managed to maintain a high level among associate members despite limited funding from the International Cricket Council and lack of regular top-level match experience.

He wrote: “My point re appointing their ODI status back … is currently, that they DO NOT receive any grants from @ICC and they need $$$ to help them develop the game in their region. And I think they deserve it.”

Nizakat Khan hit 92 and Rath scored 73 as Hong Kong threatened to chase down India’s 285 for seven, with the openers sharing a record opening partnership of 174 runs for the first wicket.

The bowlers also performed brilliantly, restricting India to 48 runs in the final 10 overs to give their batsmen a target that was realistically within reach.

It was a much improved performance from their defeat against Pakistan on Sunday, when they could only muster 116 runs when batting first.

Rath had earlier told ESPNCricinfo that the players wanted to show the world what they could do, while pointing to recently minted test nation Afghanistan as the inspiration for associate members.

“I think today was bittersweet,” Rath said of the India game. “We proved to the world what we can do, but in saying that, we had India by the horns and should have really finished it off. If we’re being hard on ourselves, which we should be, we should have finished that game off.”

When asked how Hong Kong can improve, he said: “I think it’s more exposure to high level cricket. You look at Afghanistan as a prime example. Back from 2011-2015, they were performing like us, upsetting the odd teams but going through a string of performances where they were getting bowled out for 140-150 on good decks, just like we did against Pakistan.

“But with the right backing, they started getting better and better, they started training a lot harder, became fully contracted with professionalism coming.

“Now they’re pretty much about to top group B. That’s something that lacks in Associates – the exposure to high level of cricket and today we proved we’re capable of it, and a lot of teams are. Look at Scotland at the World Cup qualifiers, they narrowly missed out. We just need that recognition.”