Hong Kong – Country Profile
Women's Cricket Domestic Structure and National Pathways
Women’s cricket was first officially set up in 2001, largely due to the efforts of the late Mrs. Anita Wu Mui Chu Miles . The first Women’s League was formed in the 2004-2005 season with 3 teams competing, which gradually expanded to 6 teams over the years. Earlier the main formats being played in the women’s league were a 35-over competition and a T20 cup. As of now, there are 9 teams competing in two formats, the Women’s T20 League and Women’s T10 Cup. The Women’s T20 League is split into two divisions complete with knockout rounds and finals, while the Women’s T10 cup consists of all 9 teams competing in a round robin competition, followed by a semi-finals and finals. Additionally, there is a Women’s Development League consisting of 8 teams playing an 8-a-side pairs cricket format. Several schools around Hong Kong have also enrolled girls’ teams into the Cricket Hong Kong domestic school league.
The best players from the women’s domestic setup are selected to play in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) and are split into two squads, the Jade Jets and the Bauhinia Stars. The WPL consists of a T20 and one day competition and are used as high-performance games or as a lead up to major international tournaments. A CHK Women's Performance squad is entered into the Boys Premier League at T20 and 30 Over formats while a CHK Women's Development Squad is entered into a younger age-group Boys Premier T20 format to gain both sets of players additional game time.
The women’s team will play in the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier, November 2021 in Malaysia. The winner of this tournament will go on to compete in the Global Qualifiers. Additionally, preparatory series for the qualifiers are in talks as well as the East Asia Cup (series between Hong Kong China, Japan and Korea) to be held in Hong Kong , Asia Cup Qualifiers and the highly anticipated 2022 Fairbreak Global tournament, also to be held in Hong Kong.
The current women’s national head coach is Chris Pickett, who doubles as the national men’s analyst. The women also have an assistant coach, Gulham Saqlain Minhas.
Strength and Conditioning
Both the women’s and men’s national squads’ partner with The Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) for strength and conditioning programs, which are implemented and run by THEi S&C coaches.
A physiotherapist is appointed to travel with the women’s team during each tournament. However, for day to day matters in Hong Kong, both the women and men have access to a sports therapist for any injury, recovery or rehabilitation requirements.
There are currently no professional contracts for women. However, all tournaments are paid for in full, including a daily allowance for players.
The current plan is to feed as many women and young girls as possible through the domestic leagues, such that they can be scouted for national performance squads. Potential pathways are the development league for beginners, followed by the the women’s league and schoolgirls cricket as a platform to progress to higher levels. Cricket Hong Kong is also encouraging many Hong Kong Chinese players by holding introductory cricket sessions in schools and universities. An advantageous system in the past was the Asian Cricket Council previously funding age group (U19) regional tournaments, which helped with recruitment and maintaining age group squads and from where many players in the current national squad developed. Cricket Hong Kong is in the process of introducing a women's U19 club league as part of the process to reestablish age group squads
A key challenge is finance as Hong Kong is an expensive city to live in and the national women’s squad is currently not financially remunerated by any means. All members of the squad are either working full-time jobs or are studying. Fortunately, a few are employed by Cricket Hong Kong as local coaches or administrators such that their national commitments are part of their contracts. Another challenge is familial support due to expectations of committing solely to holding down a stable job or to get married and raise families. Moreover, as there are only 3 turf pitches in Hong Kong that are shared by the men, women, boys and girls alike, there is a lack of regular exposure to proper turf wickets and full-sized grounds, whether it be for matches or trainings. Lastly, as is the case with all associate nations, there is a drive to get more women and girls involved in the game.