|Hong Kong : Played 20, Won 12, Lost 7, No Result 1|
The 1996-97 season was one of the heaviest on record in terms of International fixtures.
It started in superb fashion in July 1996 at Singapore when Hong Kong played consistently good cricket to regain the Tuanku Ja'afar Cup. It finished in the ICC Trophy match against Ireland where Hong Kong, with victory in sight, capitulated thereby missing the prospect of earning a Semi Final place. But it was a great effort anyway, and proved that Hong Kong has claims to a place amongst the better emerging cricket nations, having finished in the last eight at each of the last two ICC Trophy tournaments.
There were some individual highlights during the season.
Stewart Brew produced outstanding form with the bat early on and was recognised for this with an invitation to play in the ACB Super Eights competition at Kuala Lumpur alongside Allan Border, Aravinda De Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas. He also top scored in that event - in that class of company. He also gained a place in the Rest of the World team to play Australia at Hong Kong in May this year.
Pat Fordham exhibited his usual class behind the stumps, and scored more than his fair share of runs, often when the chips were down. His leadership was at all times sound, and he too was rewarded with a game against the Australians alongside Brew for the Rest of the World.
Rahul Sharma showed what a valuable player he was for Hong Kong with a consistent flow of runs and some shrewd leg-spin bowling.
Riaz Farcy set a Hong Kong record when he scored 178 against Thailand, and he was the team's best batsman in the ICC Trophy also and often got the team away to a flying start.
In the final analysis though it was a real team effort, and every member of the squad did his bit at one time or another.
Hong Kong A : Played 8, Won 2, Lost 6
The Hong Kong A team had some very difficult games. But with the re-emergence of this team to provide opportunities against non-International opposition, and hard cricket for some very good performers in domestic cricket who don't qualify for Hong Kong under ICC rules, the A team should go from strength to strength. Perhaps the A team's best result was a solid victory against a shadow Hong Kong ICC side, showing that they can do it when it matters.
|1996-97 International Season - Youth Teams|
|BIL Hong Kong Youth Team (all matches): Played 12; Won 8; Lost 4|
BIL Hong Kong Youth Team (International matches): Played 8; Won 7; Lost 1
The 1996-97 season proved to be a very successful one indeed for the BIL-sponsored Hong Kong Youth team. The progress made during the season has shown the Hong Kong cricket community that the future for Hong Kong cricket is indeed bright. There is a steady stream of young talent emerging to take cricket forward after the new millenium.
The season started with victory in the Tuanku Jaafar U18 Cup tournament in Singapore in July 1996. After losing to Singapore early in the tournament, Hong Kong went on to register good wins against Malaysia and Thailand, and came back to beat Singapore in the Final by 84 runs. Roy Lamsam was awarded the Man of the Series for his consistent form with bat and ball.
Shortly after the tournament several players were awarded opportunities to attend International cricket academies for intensive training. Gunn&Moore Young Cricketer of the Year and Captain of the Youth team Michael Wong, and Young Dragon of the Year Maurice Ling were invited to Lords for a month's training as members of the ICC Associate Members Scholarship scheme. At the same time Roy Lamsam, Alex French and Arshad Amdani were in Adelaide at the Australian Cricket Academy. The experiences gained on these trips showed through later in the season, and no doubt rubbed off on other members of the squad.
Once the Hong Kong domestic season started in September the BIL youth team was able to pit their skills against some strong touring teams, the first of which was the British Army. The side fared well, and although they lost both matches it was a good learning experience against a good side, and they won the respect of the Army players.
Harrow School again provided a good yardstick for the side to measure themselves. Hong Kong bowled and fielded well and looked well in the game chasing the runs at 110 for 2 wickets. However, perhaps it was lack of confidence or experience under pressure, but the batting then folded resulting in a narrow loss. The players will surely be better for the experience however, and got it right next time against another English touring team, Leighton Park School. The batting lineup showed real potential reaching 324 for 5 in 50 overs with Alex French making 128, and Hong Kong went on to win by 150 runs.
The season ended with the 1997 Tuanku Jaafar U18 Cup at Bangkok. Hong Kong beat Malaysia by 5 wickets in the Final to go through the tournament unbeaten. Manoj Cheruparambil was this time named Man of the Series, deservedly so following a string of excellent performances in League cricket and on tour.
During the season no less than seven members of the Youth team achieved the distinction of playing for the full Hong Kong team. They were Roy Lamsam, Grayson Tyndale, Ashwin Aiyappan, Arshad Amdani, Alex French, Kamran Raza and Manoj Cheruparambil. Three of these players - Raza, French and Lamsam went on to play in the ICC Trophy in Malaysia.
Jignesh (Jiggy) Tailor was named Gunn & Moore Young Dragon of the Year, and Alex French received the coveted Gunn & Moore Hong Kong Young Cricketer of the Year award.