Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Champions Division 3

Riding a wave of success, Hong Kong’s men’s team have been offered another reason to do well by the Hong Kong Cricket Association: HK$300,000 (US$38,500). Half of this performance bonus will be awarded if they finish in the top four of Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 2, with the full amount being received if Hong Kong reach the final.

“We’ve offered the team incentives in the past, even for the last two crucial matches of the WCL Division 3,” says HKCA (Hong Kong Cricket Association) General Manager Danny Lai. Hong Kong won both those matches, finishing winners of the event. “The thing is, adds Mr. Lai, “I don’t think money really turns them on. It just lets them focus on the cricket. No way are the team playing for money.”

The HKCA could also receive US$350,000 this year from the International Cricket Council as, “outlined in the ICC’s Funding Policy for Associate and Affiliate Members, countries that finish in the top four in Division 2 of the World Cricket League will receive a High Performance Grant”, says ICC Acting Global Development Manager Tim Anderson, (in the way that Afghanistan and UAE are already doing). A top two finish will also see Hong Kong promoted to Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 1 – a platform for possible qualification to the 2015 World Cup. Moreover, increasing sporting success can only increase Hong Kong cricket’s chances of receiving some of the HK$300 million a year bestowed by the government to elite sports in the territory.

With the women’s team successfully defending their ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship last week and thus putting themselves in contention for a possible Women’s Asia Cup place, should the men continue their climb cricket’s credibility would be further boosted. “A lot depends on the Olympics and Asian Games,” says Mr. Lai, “the sports in those get the most.” Hong Kong fielded both men’s and women’s teams in the Guangzhou Asian Games and with cricket confirmed for the 2014 Incheon games, cricket is slowly being established as a sport in the Olympic movement.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post soon after the announcement of the performance bonus was made, national coach Charlie Burke said, “In the last month or so, Hong Kong teams have won 13 out of 18 matches, including two finals. This is a huge achievement. There is a long way to go and plenty to do still, especially for the women. We need to grow the women's domestic competition and make sure the national side don't have to rely on three or four players as they do now. But things are looking up.”

Doing well on the ACC and ICC rankings with all the ensuing rewards, in a territory obsessed by money and medals Hong Kong’s cricketers could well be starting to do enough to win both and succeed on the indices by which its governors measure sporting success.

Hong Kong Cricket Profile

Filed March 7th, 2011