Nizakat Khan © Ike Li / Ike Images
Nizakat Khan © Ike Li / Ike Images

Nizakat Khan is making it a habit to perform under spotlight. He had slammed a century for Hong Kong against Sydney Thunder in December 2016. A month later, he had played a spectacular knock of 93 against UAE, a lone hand, scoring over 53 per cent of the side’s score. Nizakat was also Player of the Tournament in the Hong Kong Sixes in 2017, where he struck at 192 with the strike rate reading 376!

In the Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 final, Nizakat, how 25, went on to be the difference between the two sides yet again, as Hung Hom Jaguars beat Galaxy Gladiators Lantau by 6 runs. Opening the innings, he 8 fours and 6 sixes en route a 52-ball 93 to help Jaguars post 200 and ended up spoiling Kumar Sangakkara’s party.

As an Associate Nation cricketer, how does he see his career shaping?

“I’m looking forward to hopefully playing in some of the big leagues like CPL and BPL. That is my benchmark. I hope that if I can keep knocking on doors my chance will come.

Darren Sammy, Nizakat’s teammate at Jaguars, has been helping his cause for the same: “I’ve spoken to Darren and he’s very keen and told me to look at playing in those leagues. I’m doing well and hopefully it can work out.”

The Pakistan-born Nizakat also feels that the likes of Babar Hayat and Anshuman Rath among other Hong Kong cricketers are ready for the big leagues around the world.

Good preparation for ICC World Cup Qualifiers

Nizakat believes that a tournament of Blitz’s repute will help Hong Kong cricketers prepare better for the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe next month: “The way I batted in the final, it will give me a lot of confidence and hopefully I can do well to help my team [in Zimbabwe].”

Hong Kong are placed in a tough group alongside Afghanistan, Scotland and Zimbabwe.

Hong Kong coach optimistic

“The Blitz was an amazing success story. More domestic players contributed to winning more games and there was less reliance on overseas players. The emergence of Haroon [Arshad] and Kyle Christie was evident in the spells that they bowled throughout the tournament.

“And the usual players still performed well … Babar and Nizakat Khan in particular. Every player in the squad knows that if they take their domestic form into this tournament we will stand a good chance of progressing,” Hong Kong head coach Simon Cook told South China Morning Post.

Ahead of the qualifiers, Hong Kong will play a quadrangular 50-over tournament against Scotland, Ireland and Netherlands in Pretoria, South Africa.