‘It’s difficult to be a cricketer in Hong Kong’ – Chris Carter ends professional contract to pursue a career as a pilot
The Hong Kong-born Australian has left for Adelaide where he will start to train as an airline pilot, with lack of funding playing a part in his decision
Hong Kong’s Chris Carter has ended his tenure as a professional cricketer in the city, moving to Australia to pursue a career as a pilot.
The 21-year-old Carter said the lack of career opportunities in cricket forced him to return to his studies, which he put on hold two years ago so he could play full-time for the Hong Kong senior squad.
“I already put my studies on hold before but I think it’s time to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and that is to become a pilot,” said Carter, who was born in Hong Kong but grew up in Perth.
“It is difficult to be a cricketer in Hong Kong given the lack of funding. People within CHK [Cricket Hong Kong] work so hard to try and allow us to play on a full-time basis.
“The likes of Mark Wright and Simon Cook really do their best, but they are not supported well enough by the government or the ICC,” added Carter, who helped Hong Kong win the Asia Cup qualifier in Malaysia last month before playing in the finals against Pakistan and India.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Carter returned to Hong Kong in 2014 thinking he would play casual club cricket but he was snapped up by the Hong Kong senior squad and has been an integral part of the squad ever since.
He left Hong Kong over the weekend to Adelaide, where he will spend 55 weeks training to eventually become a second officer with Cathay Pacific.
Carter plans to eventually return to Hong Kong and make himself available for senior selection but his work would take priority.
The Kowloon Cricket Club player represented Hong Kong in 11 one-day internationals, with his highest score being 43. He also played 10 T20 matches as well as five first-class games with a best score of 84.
Hong Kong lost their official one-day status earlier this year after finishing in the bottom two of the ICC World Cup qualifier, which meant a reduction of funding from world governing body ICC. They have also lost funding from the Hong Kong Sports Institute.
Carter admitted that he was among the fortunate ones in that he could fall back on a pilot’s career.
“It is difficult for other members of the Hong Kong team, some of them who do not really have qualifications,” he said.
Last week, Hong Kong batsman Nizakat Khan was quoted in a firstpost article as saying that many players in the city were struggling to make ends meet.
“It’s difficult if you have a family in Hong Kong which is one of the most expensive places in the world. But the credit goes to the players with the way they are surviving and still giving their best,” he was quoted as saying.
“But the contract money [from CHK] is not enough so some players do coaching work. For the last two years, [the Sports Institute] was funding us so for the players it was very easy. We could train fully for 25 hours a week, now also we are training but we have to also find work.
“It’s a bit difficult for every player. I have a family and a nine-month-old daughter, so I have to support my family as well. We are struggling for income and we are hoping that our salaries will be increased.”