You only have to go to a cricket match to see why the peculiarly English sport is such a big deal. The electric atmosphere, the speed of the game, and the complex rules make for an enduring bat-and-ball game that has gripped the world for centuries.
For Hong Kong cricketer Chris Carter, it’s the way the stadium explodes when he takes a wicket in a match, or someone hits a six. Carter has been playing cricket since he was seven, and he has become one of the city’s top players, even as he studies at Kings College in Britain.
“There is no better feeling in cricket than scoring a century or taking five wickets in a match,” the 19-year-old explains. But it’s not only the victories that keep him buoyed: he draws a lot of strength from being part of a supportive team.
“I love the way the cricket is a team sport but it relies so heavily on strong performances from individuals. It really allows you as a player to take responsibility and have the opportunity to directly contribute to the team – whether that be through scoring runs, catches, or wickets,” Carter says.
“On the other hand, you know that if you have a bad day, your teammates will be doing their best for the team and your performance may not matter all that much in the end.”
That said, it’s sometimes tough to deal with the expectations of a team so driven to win. “My biggest challenge continually is staying mentally strong and dedicated when I haven’t performed to my highest,” he says. “I tend to take this very personally and dwell on it for a while ... I get particularly angry when my performance was affected by my own stupid decisions and actions.”
His father taught him how to play in a park in Perth, Australia, where cricket is particularly huge. Although cricket is popular in Hong Kong, it’s harder to get into a club here due to long waiting lists for adult members. Carter’s advice for people who are interested in cricket is to get involved while they’re young so they don’t have to go through the hassle of applying to clubs as an adult.
His dream was realised when he was selected for the Hong Kong team not long after moving from Australia, and got to play against the crickets stars he looked up to growing up. “When I first started playing in Hong Kong, I never imagined that a year later I’d be representing my country at a World Cup in India.”
Back in March, Carter represented Hong Kong on the squad that went to the 2016 T20 World Cup, which was held in India. Although months of practice, fitness, and strength work helped get the team get their heads in the game, fierce competition and slightly shabby pitches knocked their confidence in matches against Ireland, Afghanistan, Scotland and Zimbabwe. “Unfortunately we didn’t win the games we needed to proceed to the next round,” Carter says.
“I felt thrilled to have competed in the biggest cricketing tournament in the world, but it was all fairly anticlimactic because we expected to go further than we did,” Carter reflects. Regardless, the cricketer remains upbeat and views the event as a learning curve. “It was an awesome experience and one that I will remember for the rest of my life. There were too many great moments with the team and fans to pick just one moment.”
Looking ahead, Carter will continue to hone his game and represent Hong Kong – hopefully again at the next cricket world cup and in the Indian Premier League (IPL). “The way the competition mixes Bollywood and sport makes for a huge spectacle, and the fans there are absolutely crazy. Playing in front of a packed IPL crowd would be an experience that I’d never forget.”
Sport is a dominant force in Carter’s life, but he rounds out his busy schedule by travelling, learning about trading stocks and entrepreneurship, and reading books about successful businesses. “My role model outside of sport is Richard Branson,” he reveals. “I idolise the way that he kept pushing through adversity, and how he never lost sight of his dreams and ideas,” Carter says.
“I see myself pursuing some of my business ideas in the not too distant future.”
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
I Meant It – G-Eazy
You can take the abilities of any animal during one competition. Which do you choose and why?
Cheetah – due to its reaction time and speed.
What’s your favourite thing to eat before a big event?
Home-made fried rice
Which fictional character would you choose as your team mate?
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company are you a spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Adidas, promoting Ultra Boost trainers.