Galaxy Gladiators Lantau in HKT20 Blitz
Back for a second year running, albeit with a slightly different name, Galaxy Gladiators Lantau are the next team up in Mikey Godsmark’s team-by-team preview of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.
Firmly committed to growing the game in Hong Kong, Lantau are also determined to grow the game in the associate nations as well. A squad filled with young Hong Kong talent reflects their desire to not only secure glory for their side but their desire to aid the next generation of Hong Kong cricketers as well. They will hope that their overseas picks can counter any lack of experience in their side.
With one notable exception, the Lantau domestic line-up looks easily the weakest of all the franchises with experienced definitely sacrificed for youthful exuberance. That exception comes in the form of one of the three retained players: Anshuman Rath, the young opening batter who has been in excellent form for his country in the recent series against Netherlands.
The other two retained picks for the Galaxy Gladiators are , to be honest, not quite of the same calibre. Mohammad Awais is a promising batting talent for Hong Kong was named in the squad for the ACC Emerging Nations Cup, but is yet to play a game for the main side. Whilst Muhammad Khan is a former Hong Kong U19s star but is yet to break into the main Hong Kong set-up.
The draft picks for Lantau were also fairly unimpressive. Haseeb Amjad brings a great deal of experience and was an integral part of the Hong Kong set-up at the World T20, but has not played since. Daniyal Bukhari is another young, uncapped player, who was been in decent form for Pakistan Association of Hong Kong. Lantau’s Chinese pick is Jason Lui who scored 48* for the Dragons in November.
The headline player for the Galaxy Gladiators is Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara who, since his retirement from international cricket, has become a T20 journeyman and has played in the PSL and BBL so far this year. Also arriving from the PSL is Sohail Tanvir who bowls left-arm pace bowling that can be destructive against the opposition top order. Fresh from the New Zealand domestic season, Jesse Ryder has also been recruited with both his potential destructive batting and his crafty medium pace having the potential to be key for Lantau.
Leg-break bowler Seekkuge Prasanna will be the side’s main spinner. He comes from a very economic series against Australia and on grounds where pace off the ball will be vital, he will be key to Lantau’s chances of success. Lantau’s associate pick is very exciting. Assad Vala of Papua New Guinea is a skilled top order batsman and whilst T20s are not his best format, his off-breaks will offer support to Prasanna if pitches turn.
In all honesty, Lantua’s overseas picks are nothing special compared to other sides and Anshy Rath aside, their domestic picks are weak. Rath and Sangakkara may be able to score heavily at the top of the order but if they are removed, there isn’t much else. None of their bowlers really stand out and if they have to resort to giving overs to uncapped domestic players then they may be in a lot of trouble.
Prediction: Poor domestic picks resulting in a lack of depth. 5th
Overseas players: Kumar Sangakkara, Jesse Ryder, Sohail Tanvir, Seekkuge Prasanna, Assad Vala
Domestic players: Anshuman Rath (c), Mohammad Awais, Mo Khan, Haseeb Amjad, Daniyal Bukhari, Courtney Kruger, Karandeep Singh, Arshad Haroon Mohammad, Ishaq Ibraheem Muhammad, Jason Lui, Sourav Kumar