A year after it was supposed to happen Hong Kong finally set to play their maiden international first class match at home – after the total washout of the 4-day match against Scotland last January – and Captain Babar Hayat is confident in getting a result against The Netherlands.
Sunny skies are forecast and Hayat is looking for his team to continue where they left off at the recent Desert T20 tournament in Dubai when Hong Kong hammered The Netherlands.
“It was good to get a win against them in Dubai and that gives us confidence but this is a different format of the game that they have more experience in so it will be a hard match,” Hayat said.
“But in home conditions this will favour us as most of their players will have never been here before. Our record at home has been really good and we want to keep that going in the I-Cup as well.”
Hong Kong currently sit fifth on the Intercontinental Cup table but a win could see HK leapfrog The Netherlands into third position. Hong Kong’s remaining fixtures in the I-Cup will be Afghanistan at home in October and PNG in Dubai to finish the competition.
Coach Simon Cook says the team are well prepared, “Finishing in the top half of this league was the aim but top four or top three is definitely within our scope. That will be a very, very good achievement as there’s no history of longer form fixtures in Hong Kong,” Cook said.
“They are a very good side. They’ve shown that in previous world cup qualifiers – their side has a lot of experienced players with also some young players they’ve brought as well. It’s their off-season so our advantage is we have been playing cricket for the last five months and they haven’t, so they may be a bit short of match practice.”
Play commences daily at 9.30am at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground and entry is free for all four days.
The I-Cup squad features two new names, with Matt Stiller and Under-19s captain Jhatha Subramanyan in line for a potential debut out of the 14-man squad named.
Hong Kong Squad
ICC I-Cup v Netherlands (10-13 February)
1. Tanwir Afzal (Pakistan Assoc.), 2. Nadeem Ahmed (DLSWCC), 3. Christopher Carter (KCC), 4. Waqas Khan (DLSWCC), 5. Tanveer Ahmed (KCC), 6. Babar Hayat (DLSWCC), 7. Aizaz Khan (KCC), 8. Ehsan Khan (DLSWCC), 9. Nizakat Khan (HKCC), 10. Ehsan Nawaz (KCC), 11. Anshuman Rath (HKCC), 12. Ninad Shah (KCC), 13. Matt Stiller (KCC), 14. Jhatha Subramanyan (HKCC)
ICC WCLC v Netherlands (16 & 18 February)
1. Tanwir Afzal (Pakistan Assoc), 2. Nadeem Ahmed (DLSWCC), 3. Tanveer Ahmed (KCC), 4. James Atkinson (KCC), 5. Christopher Carter (KCC), 6. Mark Chapman (HKCC), 7. Ehsan Nawaz (KCC), 8. Babar Hayat (DLSWCC), 9. Aizaz Khan (KCC), 10. Ehsan Khan (DLSWCC), 11. Nizakat Khan (HKCC), 12. Waqas Khan (DLSWCC), 13. Anshuman Rath (HKCC), 14. Shahid Wasif (DLSWCC)
Additional reporting and images: HK Cricket, Peter Della Penna