Cricket Hong Kong has named Nizakat Khan the new captain of the Hong Kong men’s national team. Nizakat replaces Aizaz Khan who is under investigation for his alleged role in an insurance scam.
At 29 years of age, Nizakat is one of Hong Kong’s most seasoned international competitors. Starting his career as a middle order batter and leg-spinner, Khan raised eyebrows at the 2010 U-19 World Cup, scoring an almost run-a-ball half century against an England side with Ben Stokes and Danny Briggs in their ranks. He then followed it up with an equally impressive 56 not out against Bangladesh later in the tournament.
Nizakat made his List A international debut against Uganda in 2011, taking 4-14 in 10 overs. Since then Nizakat has gravitated towards opening the batting, particularly in T20s, where his open stance and strong wrists have yielded many a big square six in power plays.
Responding to the promotion Nizakat said, ‘I am incredibly honoured to be given the responsibility to captain Hong Kong. We have an exciting period of cricket coming up and looking forward to leading the side as we work towards regaining ODI status, qualifying for the T20 World Cup and representing Hong Kong at the Asian Games.’
Cricket Hong Kong Head Coach Trent Johnston expressed strong faith in Nizakat’s abilities. ‘Nizakat is one of our most experienced cricketers and has demonstrated strong leadership and communication skills as a senior player,’ said Johnston.
‘I am excited to work closely with Nizakat as we look ahead to performing in our upcoming tournaments.’
Aizaz Khan has been removed as captain, but reportedly remains a contracted Cricket Hong Kong player whilst the investigation into the scam takes its course.
Once possessing a line-up that was the envy of the Associate world, Hong Kong has lost several experienced national players in recent years, including to the pursuit of higher honours in Test-playing Full Member nations. One of those stars, Mark Chapman, who made his List A international debut in the same match as Nizakat, has just been picked in New Zealand’s T20 World Cup squad.
Despite, these challenges Hong Kong remains a strong competitor in the upper reaches of Associate-level international competition and will be gunning to regain ODI status under Nizakat’s leadership in the next eighteen months.
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