Hayat to lead Hong Kong in World Cup qualifiers

Babar Hayat will lead Hong Kong at next month’s World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe, while batsman Mark Chapman was left out of the 15-man squad, after he made himself unavailable for selection due to his commitments with Auckland in New Zealand’s domestic competitions. Anshy Rath was named vice-captain.

Chapman, who has not played for Hong Kong since the 2016 World T20 in India, recently missed out on selection for New Zealand’s T20I squad against Pakistan and Australia. After strong performances in the Super Smash T20 competition, Chapman smashed 117 off 104 balls on Sunday against Wellington in the Ford Trophy, New Zealand’s 50-overs competition.

The squad leaves for South Africa next week, where they will play in a quadrangular tournament with Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland, starting on February 14. Thereafter, the team will proceed to Zimbabwe, where they play the tournament’s opening match against Scotland on March 6.

Hong Kong coach Simon Cook said he was pleased with the squad’s “balance”, and that those selected were rewarded for their performances over the past 12 months. With four Test teams – Ireland, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and West Indies – playing in the World Cup qualifiers, Cook said that the team will look to embrace the challenge following their third-place finish in the recently-concluded World Cricket League championship.

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