The career of Hong Kong wicketkeeper-batsman Chris Carter is about to take off – but not in the way you might expect. Carter, 21, has turned his back on international cricket in order to train as a pilot.
A member of the Hong Kong team that qualified for the Asia Cup – and ran India close in their group match – Carter has now decided to return to Australia, where he grew up, in order to attend flight school. Despite being in possession of a Cricket Hong Kong (CHK) contract, he suggested opportunities in cricket were limited.
“I already put my studies on hold before but I think it’s time to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and that is to become a pilot,” Carter told the South China Morning Post. “It is difficult to be a cricketer in Hong Kong given the lack of funding. People within CHK work so hard to try and allow us to play on a full-time basis.
“The likes of Mark Wright and Simon Cook really do their best, but they are not supported well enough by the government or the ICC.”
Carter, who was born in Hong Kong, made his international debut in 2015, having initially intended to play club cricket in the city. He played 11 ODIs – the last Hong Kong’s 26-run defeat to India in Dubai – as well as 10 T20Is and five first-class matches.
He has now departed for Adelaide, where he will undertake training to become a pilot with Cathay Pacific. He hopes to be able to play for Hong Kong again in the future, depending on work commitments.
The problem of holding on to players like Carter was something Cook, Hong Kong’s head coach, alluded to last month in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, when discussing the challenges of developing a competitive side.
“It all comes down to money,” Cook said. “We’re governed by things we can’t control. Hong Kong is among the most expensive places to live and work in the world. Our player contracts are not enough for them to realistically live and work, have a family and make a career by just playing cricket.”