"If I can get just five or six to take it to the next level, then we'll have done very well," so said Chairman of the Hong Kong Umpires Association Anoop Gidwani. An active umpire himself, Mr. Gidwani was assisting ACC Umpiring Resource Person Mahboob Shah during a recent Level I Umpiring Course held at both the Hong Kong Cricket Club (outdoor module) and Kowloon Cricket Club (indoor modules).

Mahboob Shah (standing), Anoop Gidwani to his left, at the Kowloon CC Macgowan Room

The Level I course coincided with the traditional Boxing Day fixture between Australian and English expatriates at Hong Kong CC, and Mahboob Shah, a veteran of 28 Tests and 32 ODIs, made use of the “great experience to be judging the candidates at this grand show.” 22 umpires took part. “Almost all the participants are active players, most of whom do umpiring as well. Some are preparing to give up playing to take up umpiring,” explains Mr. Shah, many of the players being coaches as well. “It was heartening to note that almost half the participants were of Chinese origin. Apart from the Chinese there were a number of Hong Kong nationals, who were either born and brought up in Hong Kong, China or have lived there for decades,” he added.

Lai Wing Ki, To Yee Shan, Chan Ka Ying and Marina Lamplough during the 2014 ACC Women’s Premier

Whatever perception there may be in the SAR that cricket is a game for expatriates from the Commonwealth countries is slowly but surely being dispelled by the development work of the Hong Kong Cricket Association. “Almost half of the national women’s team is Chinese,” says Anoop Gidwani (himself a former national selector), “and there are young Chinese boys playing too. The Chinese have expressed a desire to be involved in any capacity and these umpires who progress from this course will be invited to stand in junior and women’s and Saturday cricket, prior to being put forward for Level II. There is more than enough cricket in Hong Kong, China for the umpires to be active.”

Hong Kong, China Cricket Profile

Filed January 21th, 2015