The call came unexpectedly. Chetan Suryawanshi grabbed the chance.
When Gaurav Kumar from Hong Kong cricket franchise Galaxy Gladiators Lantau asked Singapore’s national team captain if he would like to play for the side in this year’s HK T20 Blitz, Chetan did not hesitate for a second. He said yes and from February 6 to 11 will take part in the tournament, becoming the first player from Singapore to do so.
The third edition of the HK T20 Blitz, which will be held at the Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground in Mong Kok, will see the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Daren Sammy, Dwayne Smith, Samuel Badree, Kamran Akmal, Luke Ronchi and Wahab Riaz turn out for five franchises. Chetan, who has signed a six-day contract, will appear in the colours of Gladiators, who will be captained by Sangakkara and have Sri Lanka international Seekkuge Prasanna and rising West Indian fast bowling star Jofra Archer in their ranks.
“It will be a good experience,” said Chetan, 32. “It is a good opportunity for a Singapore player to go there and show his abilities against some of the well-known cricketers in the world. Cricketers from Singapore are getting noticed and this allows the national team to move forward.” Singapore leg-spinner Anantha Krishna has just signed a contract to play in the Zimbabwe league.
Chetan, who has excelled for Singapore in World Cricket League and other international matches, will be getting his biggest T20 exposure in Hong Kong. In 2009, he was a squad member of the Indian Premier League outfit Kolkata Knight Riders. In 2015, he featured in a world XI captained by Sanath Jayasuriya that took on a Nepal XI in a charity match in Kuala Lumpur.
A record 27 overseas players, along with top Hong Kong talent, will take part in this year’s HK T20 Blitz, whose five teams – City Kaitak, Galaxy Gladiators Lantau, Hong Kong Island United, Hung Hom JD Jaguars and Kowloon Cantons – are required to field one Associate nation player and one Cricket Hong Kong Dragons player. Former Australian captain Michael Clarke was the sole overseas participant at the inaugural Hong Kong T20 Blitz in 2016.
Overseas Players: Samuel Badree (WI), Rayad Emrit (WI), Sohail Tanvir (Pak), Ravi Bopara (Eng), Kyle Coetzer (Sco)
Domestic Players: Anshuman Rath, Aizaz Khan (c), Waqas Barkat, Jamie Atkinson, Manjinder Singh, Ishtiaq Muhammad, Umar Mohammad, Raag Kapur, Mudassar Hussain, Siegfried Wai
Galaxy Gladiators Lantau
Overseas Players: Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Seekkuge Prasanna (SL), James Franklin (NZ), Cameron Delport (RSA), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Chetan Suryawanshi (SGP)
Domestic Players: Karandeep Singh, Haroon Arshad, Imran Arif, Shahid Wasif, Amandeep Singh, Li Kai-ming, Moner Dar, Muhammad Balal, Mohammed Osama, Awais Mohammad
Hong Kong Island United
Overseas players: Kamran Akmal (Pak), Mohammad Irfan (Pak), David Wiese (RSA), Luke Ronchi (NZ), Hussain Talat (Pak), Ryan ten Doeschate (NED)
Domestic Players: Tanwir Afzaal, Ehsan Khan, Yasim Murtaza, Zeeshan Ali, Daniyal Bukhari, Ahsan Abbsai, Suhaib Ahmad, Jason Lui, Chris Carter, Hamed Khan
Hung Hom Jaguars
Overseas players: Darren Sammy (WI), Ben Laughlin (Aus), Riki Wessels (Eng), Johan Botha (RSA/Sydney Sixers), Roelof van der Merwe (Ned)
Domestic Players: Kinchit Shah (Capt), Nizakat Khan, Tanveer Ahmed, Adil Mehmood, Kyle Christie, Ninad Deveng Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Scott Mckechnie, Damien Yee, Aarush Bhagwat, Rana Nasrulla
Overseas Players: Dwayne Smith (WI), Wahab Riaz (Pak), Samit Patel (Eng), Ashar Zaidi (Eng), Paul van Meekeren (Ned)
Domestic Players: Babar Hayat, Ehsan Nawaz, Waqas Khan, Ryan Buckley, Adeel Shafrique, Hussain Butt, Hassan Khan, Simandeep Singh, Sunny Bhimsaria, Saad Mahmood, Bobby Chan.