Ethnic Pakistan and India players truly represent Hong Kong and we are proud of them, say Chinese cricketers
Players from the development Dragons team hit back at social media users who question the make-up of the Hong Kong senior team
Hong Kong’s Chinese cricketers have come to the defence of the ethnic Pakistani and Indian players in the senior team after some social media users mocked the make-up of the squad.
The majority in the Hong Kong team who ran India close at the Asia Cup in Dubai on Tuesday are of Pakistani origin – they either migrated to Hong Kong or were born here – while the captain, 20-year-old Anshuman Rath, has his roots in India.
Some have in the past dismissed cricket in Hong Kong because of the lack of Chinese players in the senior team. One post on the South China Morning Post comments section, said: “Majority of the Hong Kong team consists of Indians and Pakistanis!”
.@CricketHK fell just short at the end, but Captain Anshuman Rath feels that they should have sealed the win against @BCCI .
Where do you think they lost the game?#INDvHK #AsiaCup2018 pic.twitter.com/aq8RXQxm9x
— AsianCricketCouncil (@ACCMedia1) September 19, 2018
David Fang, who last week earned his first cap for the Dragons – a development squad made up of Hong Kong Chinese players – in the East Asia Cup, said the likes of Rath, Nizakat Khan, Babar Hayat and others deserve to be in the squad.
“A few of them were brought up in Hong Kong and they speak Cantonese,” said Fang, 31, who learned cricket while studying in Australia. “The thing is that Chinese cricketers are not good enough to represent Hong Kong.
“The Dragons played a Hong Kong youth team in preparation for the East Asia Cup and we couldn’t beat them.”
When asked if he was proud of the senior team, who lost by 26 runs to India and at one point looked like they might win, Fang said: “Oh definitely. To be honest, within the Chinese group, everyone is supporting Hong Kong and we wanted them to beat India and Pakistan.
“Hong Kong is not just another city, we are an international city. Against India we showed we can keep up with the big boys.
“I’m not sure about people who don’t know about the cricket circle in Hong Kong, but within the community everyone is really proud of the team.”
Hong Kong have fielded Chinese players in the past with the late Benny Kwong Wo, in the 70s, and Diocesan Boys’ School alumni Eddie Tse making it into the senior squad more than 20 years ago.
Ka-U Lynn, another Dragons player who learned his cricket in Hong Kong, said the players in the senior squad were like role models for the Chinese players.
“You represent your country based on merit and for us [Chinese cricketers}, the senior team are the best 11 we have in Hong Kong,” said 22-year-old Lynn, a student at Hong Kong University.
“Many of them were born in Hong Kong, or migrated here at a young age and have been through the schooling system and also speak Cantonese.
“There is no doubt they represent Hong Kong. They have taken Hong Kong from the World League and up to one-day status, they represent Hong Kong well and we are proud of them and what they have achieved.”
SCMP news reporter Danny Lee is also part of the Hong Kong Dragons team and hit out at those who question the ethnic make-up of the first-team squad.
“Sniping on the sidelines about nationality and identity is nonsense and a sideshow for the excellent performance Hong Kong put in on the field against India,” said Lee. “It doesn’t matter about their look, it’s within the laws of cricket and those that the governing body abides by that the players qualify for Hong Kong. And that is all that matters as far as I am concerned.”
Cricket Hong Kong is making efforts to popularise the sport among the local Chinese population, hoping to create a larger pool of players who will eventually compete for places in the senior team.
“I think cricket is definitely a sport for the Chinese people,” said Lynn. “You don’t have to be the biggest or strongest, it requires more mental skills.”
Fang, like Lynn, hopes more Chinese players will take up the sport and aspire to play for Hong Kong.
“Obviously, we want to see more ethnic Chinese players representing Hong Kong but they must be good enough,” he said. “But right at this moment, if we played, we would be beaten.”