The sun was beating down at the Islam Gymkhana on Saturday afternoon as the Hong Kong team sweated it out, preparing for next month’s ICC World Twenty20. The Associate team has been in the city for a few days and are putting final touches to their build-up to the big event.
However, only 10 out of their 15 squad members are a part of this pre-tournament campaign. The other five — Tanwir Afzal, Babar Hayat, Waqas Khan, Waqas Barkat and Haseeb Amjad — who are Pakistan passport holders, haven’t yet been granted a visa to travel to India.
“We expect the visas to come through probably next week. If they do — brilliant. If they don’t — we will have to put a contingency plan in place which we are starting to work on at the moment, but we are hoping we don’t have to use that,” said Simon Cook, the Hong Kong coach. The five are an important part of the Hong Kong unit with Afzal named captain for the World T20. Apart from Waqas Khan, the others have featured in the previous World T20 in Bangladesh.
Hong Kong have been training in Mumbai under the watch of the Global Cricket School. They played a match against the Cricket Club of India (CCI) on Friday, but were beaten.
Hong Kong’s World T20 campaign begins in Nagpur on March 8 against Zimbabwe.