Hong Kong gave every Associate nation a reason to rejoice by pulling off the shock of the tournament thus far beating Bangladesh by two wickets in a last-over finish, despite the hosts managing to edge past Nepal on net run-rate for a place in the Super 10s.
But back here in Hong Kong, not many people know or care about cricket. Those who know that cricket is a game that exists and is popular in many countries have no idea that Hong Kong has a cricket team too and that it actually qualified and is playing in the T20 cricket world cup in Bangladesh.
When the local media broke the news that Hong Kong has defeated Bangladesh in cricket world cup, I went out on Hong Kong streets to cover the reaction of HongKongians..
A HK local girl Mandy Cheung was approached for comment on this victory and she stated: “Yes, I read the news that we won in some sport named ‘cricket’ but I have never seen anyone play this game in Hong Kong”
Another guy named Jason Chan was approached and asked if he knew what cricket was and he replied “Yes. I know. Its an insect”
These replies seem strange seeing the fact that Hong Kong has been regularly hosting the famous tournament “Hong Kong sixes” in the past and that league matches do regularly take place in Hong Kong.
When I interviewed different league players and asked them why cricket as a sport is not very popular among Hong Kong born residents, they had their stories to tell.
Haroon Shahid (a Pakistani expat living in HongKong), who is a regular player in HK Saturday league and currently the captain of University of HongKong cricket team complained about the lack of grounds in Hong Kong. “There are just not enough grounds in schools and colleges here for young people to play cricket. Hong Kong is too crowded for this sport.”
Another Saturday league player Mahad Naseer requested the Hong Kong media to give more coverage to this sport. “Hong Kong is playing in world cup and no local channels are covering it in their news bulletins. This is ironical. For cricket to be popular in Hong Kong, people first have to know about the existence of cricket”
Few fans that Hong Kong cricket team may have are Hong Kong residents who have moved to Hong Kong from other countries or locals who have spent a considerable part of their lives in one of the cricket loving nations.
Hong Kong’s good performance in the cup will definitely boost the morale of these fans and will help promote cricket as a sport in Hong Kong.
For now, not many people can be seen rejoicing on the victory of Hong Kong cricket team.