‘We had India by the Horns,’ Indian-Origin Cricket Captain Says After Hong Kong’s Impressive Show
Hong Kong cricket team captain Anshuman Rath traces his roots to Odisha.
Hong Kong cricket team captain Anshuman Rath said he was proud of his team’s performance against India, after they lost to the Asia Cup tie by 26 runs in Dubai on Sept. 18.
Rath, the 20-year-old cricketer who traces his roots to Odisha, was also lauded for his batting against India. “I think today was bitter-sweet,” he said after the match. “We really proved to the world what we can do. In saying that, we had India by the horns and really should’ve finished it off, if we are being hard on ourselves, which we should be.” Rath led his team with a contribution of 73 runs in 97 balls.
The Hong Kong team’s “inspiring performance” was hailed by several cricket maestros, commentators, and also the International Cricket Council (ICC).
A huge round of applause to Hong Kong for their resilience and determination in giving India a run for their money. Good innings from @SDhawan25 & @RayuduAmbati and Khaleel Ahmed was very impressive #AsiaCup
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) September 18, 2018
India win, but not before they were given an almighty fright by Hong Kong, who lost by just 26 runs. What a performance from them!#INDvHK LIVE ➡️ https://t.co/E9VsZbcD4e #AsiaCup2018 pic.twitter.com/8H6FftjjDi
— ICC (@ICC) September 18, 2018
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) September 18, 2018
India set a target of 286 runs against Hong Kong, which gave them a bit of ease, Rath said after the match. “When we restricted India to just 280, we knew it was a good batting deck but obviously India has the bowlers, but we knew that 280 was about par. Only just over par, I reckon. We had the batting firepower, we had nothing to lose. So I said ‘game on here’.”
The opening duo of the Hong Kong team, Rath and Nizakat Khan, gave the team a stable start and almost seemed to demolish Indian batsman Shikhar Dhawan’s mammoth contribution of 120 runs by putting up a strong partnership of 174 runs, held as the second highest opening partnership against India since 2015.
The match, which almost seemed like a losing game for India, was later turned against Hong Kong as India saved it by achieving a 26-run victory.
Right before the match, Rath talked to ABP News about playing against his native country, and about his willingness to play for the Indian Premier League (IPL). He also recalled his childhood visits to India during summer since his grandparents live in Odisha.
“When I was younger, I used to visit there lots, I used to go there for summer, Christmas, every time we had a holiday, we’d go back… that sort of faded away when I started to go England for schools,” Rath said, adding that due to his tightly scheduled cricket career his visits to Odisha became less frequent. “India overall has been less and less but I love going back, I just enjoy India,” he said.
Rath was born in Hong Kong, where his parents, who hail from Bhubaneswar, moved for work in the late nineties. He was inspired to play cricket after watching India’s performance in the 2003 World Cup. “I was only six. My father and I started playing cricket at home. After breaking enough furniture, he decided to enroll me at the Hong Kong Cricket Club for coaching,” he was quoted as saying by Sportstar in an earlier interview.
Rath then moved to the United Kingdom, where he pursued his education and cricket simultaneously. He is yet to finish his graduation in economics, he told the Times of India. Talking about his connection with India, he said, “The only thing Indian about me is that I like playing cricket.”