The first nation-wide round of 2-day cricket matches in Hong Kong have been completed, with Hong Kong’s coach Charlie Burke “pretty impressed with how things have gone.” Hong Kong’s new Premier League, alongside a 50-over competition, played on a 2-day, two-innings basis. The five top-ranked teams in the country - Hong Kong Cricket Club, Kowloon Cricket Club, Lightning XI, Little Sai Wan Cricket Club, Pakistan Association – take each other on in a competition geared towards preparing Hong Kong’s elite cricketers for what coach Burke hopes will be qualification to World Cup 2015 and/or ICC Intercontinental Cup four-day cricket.

“It was interesting to see players who have been playing one-day or T20 cricket for the past few seasons make the adjustment to the longer form. Batsmen have actually been too cautious! There have been strike-rates of 35 – 40, which with Hong Kong’s small grounds has been very unusual. Bowlers have done well, Nadeem Ahmed reeled off more than 30 overs. A few have struggled with concentration and fitness – it has been very hot this week – in the afternoon but considering its just the start of the season and some of the players who aren’t in the national side have really only been training a month, it’s been not at all bad,” says Hong Kong’s coach. “What really impressed me was how professionally the clubs have been taking it. There were physios and ice-baths for the players and it shows a real level of professionalism in Hong Kong’s domestic cricket and the players who aren’t currently in the national squad are seeing these for the first time.” Hong Kong’s cricket has always had a fair few players of high class, and this season is no exception. The difference is that the ones who represent Hong Kong in international competition are increasingly being given the things which will help them fulfil all their potential.

Courtney Kruger Nizakat Khan
Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 2, 2011

Alongside the new 2-day format, Hong Kong have adopted a game analysis system, ‘Fair Play’ which is used by the Australian national team and the state sides. Four coaches alongside Charlie Burke have been trained in its use, and “though it’s quite an investment, the software and the hardware and the training time”, he says, “there’s heaps of data you can mine from all the possible codes and its something that’s going to give us and the players plenty to work with. It may actually be too advanced in a way but the program gives the coaches and players plenty of opportunities for feedback if we’re smart about it. The vision’s incredible, showing a player just why and when a batsman plays and misses. You can program it to show what happens the first ball of a new spell, a bowler at the point of release, all these are great insights and the next step is to figure out exactly what we want from it.”

Nicholas Lau and Roy Lamsam at the 2010 Asian Games

Hong Kong’s next major competition is the ACC Twenty20 in December in Nepal and Hong Kong will be taking themselves and Fair Play on a tour of India in preparation in mid-November.

Hong Kong Domestic Cricket Results
Hong Kong Cricket Profile

Filed September 12th, 2011