Hong Kong cricket enters a new era as the city hosts its first-ever professional Twenty20 tournament later this month. Four franchises – Rude Bar Island Warriors, Kowloon Cantons, Hung Hom JD Jaguars and Lantau GII Galaxy Riders – will contest the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz at Mission Road from May 27-29.
The teams have selected a number of young Hong Kong cricketers, while overseas players will also showcase their talents here.
Anshuman Rath, Chris Carter, Kinchit Shah and Raag Kapur talked to Young Post about the skills that impressed their franchise coaches.
Anshuman Rath (Lantau GII Galaxy Riders)
Harrow School’s Anshuman, 18, is a left-hand batsman and slow, left-arm bowler. He was picked up by the Lantau GII Galaxy Riders in the first round of selections. Anshuman said his cover drive has impressed his coaches and intimidated his opponents.
“My cover drive brings me a lot of runs, so the bowler has to change his line and length to get me out. I am also good at hitting sixes,” he said.
Patience plays a vital role in cricket, he added, as a batsman has to wait for the right ball to play an attacking shot.
Anshuman scored a half-century batting at number three in a one-day international against Papua New Guinea in Australia in 2014.
Chris Carter (Hung Hom JD Jaguars)
University of Hong Kong cricket star Chris Carter, 18, said his strengths are batting and wicket-keeping.
“It’s important to make sure that I perform my role very well for the benefit of my team. Being a wicket-keeper, I know that I can make up for a bad batting performance by keeping well, and vice versa,” said Chris.
Chris is not well-known for big-hitting; he scores runs by placing the ball in the gaps and playing normal cricket shots like the pull, hook, cut and drive.
Raag Kapur (Rude Bar Island Warriors)
West Island School’s Raag , 17, often plays as an opening batsman. He is also a right-hand, medium- fast bowler.
“My strength is my batting. I am an aggressive batsman who likes to build my innings using a wide range of shots. I also like to use my feet against both fast and spin bowlers,” he said.
Kinchit Shah (Hung Hom JD Jaguars)
Russell Square International College’s Shah, 19, is a left-hand batsman who also bowls right-arm offbreaks. “I am an aggressive opening batsman, and the captain will ask me to bowl when he needs to break a partnership,” he said.
Nepali spin sensation drafted
At last Thursday’s draft, each franchise had the chance to select three Hong Kong national squad members, one under-19 player and a minimum of five Premier League players.
The teams will also be able to field overseas players, who will be contracted individually outside of the draft. Kowloon Cantons have already announced the recruitment of one overseas player, 15-year-old Nepalese spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane. He will play alongside Hong Kong Cricket Association chief executive Tim Cutler, whose name was also on the draft list.
Among the big-name stars, Hong Kong team captain Tanwir Afzal will represent the Rude Bar Island Warriors, while hard-hitting batsman Babar Hayat was picked by the Kowloon Cantons.
Hong Kong national men’s team head coach, Simon Cook, said: “International cricket has moved on to a level where players need to be at least two-dimensional if not three. The importance of having a second skill set whether that be bowling, batting or fielding is of critical importance. All of our young players coming through will have this second skill set at least.”
The DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz will be played on a round-robin format, with the top two teams battling it out in the final.